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I 29.86/4:AC 1 

Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Cultural Landscape Report 

for the Historic Hiking Trail System 

of Acadia National Park 

Historic Hiking Trail System, 2003 
Western Part of Mount Desert Island 

Produced by 

National Park Service 

Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation 


~| Existing marked, maintained trails 

I Historic trails no longer marked 

|J Roads and carriage roads 

I I Acadia National Park lands 

Approximate wale {mil**} 

, © 

Acadia Trails 
Treatment Plan 

Cultural Landscape Report 

for the Historic Hiking Trail System 

of Acadia National Park, Maine 

Prepared by 

Christian S. Barter 
Margaret Coffin Brown 
J. Tracy Stakely 
Gary J. Stellpflug 

Illustrated by 

Sarah E. Baldyga 

Project Manager 

Jim Vekasi 


Brooke Childrey 
Peter Colman 
Carl Demrow 
Judith Hazen Connery 
David Goodrich 
Laura Hayes 
Charles Jacobi 
Keith W. Johnston 

David Kari 
Lester Kenway 
Courtney LaRuffa 
Lauren G. Meier 
David Salisbury 
James Schissel 
Lee Terzis 
Heidi Werner 

Funding provided by 

National Park Service Cultural Resources Preservation Program 
National Park Service Fee Demonstration Program 
Friends of Acadia 

Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation 
National Park Service, Boston, Massachusetts, 2006 

Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

The Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation promotes the steward- 
ship of significant landscapes through research, planning, and sustainable 
preservation maintenance. The Center accomplishes its mission in col- 
laboration with a network of partners including national parks, universities, 
government agencies, and private nonprofit organizations. Techniques and 
principles of preservation practice are made available through training and 
publications. Based at the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, 
the Center perpetuates the tradition of the Olmsted firms and Frederick Law 
Olmsted's lifelong commitment to people, parks, and public spaces. 

For more information, contact: 

The Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation 
99 Warren Street 
Brookline, MA 02445 

Acadia National Park 

McFarland Hill Headquarters 

P.O. Box 177 

Bar Harbor, ME 04609 

Friends of Acadia 

43 Cottage Street 

P.O. Box 45 

Bar Harbor, ME 04609 

Publication Credits: Information from this publication may be copied and used with the 
condition that full credit is given to the authors. Appropriate citations and bibliographic 
credits should be made for each use. 

Layout: Brian P. Graphic Arts, 

ISBN 0-9779833-1-5 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Acadia trails treatment plan: cultural landscape report for the historic hiking trail system 
of Acadia National Park, Maine / prepared by Christian S. Barter ... [et al.] ; illustrated by 
Sarah E. Baldyga; project manager, Jim Vekasi ; contributors, Brooke Childrey ... [et al.]. 

Includes bibliographical references and index 

1. Acadia National Park (Me.) 2. Trails — Conservation and restoration — Maine — Acadia 
National Park. 3. Landscape assessment— Maine — Acadia National Park. 4. Landscape 
protection — Maine— Acadia National Park. I. Title: Cultural landscape report for the 
historic trail system of Acadia National Park, Maine. II. Barter, Christian, 1969- 
III. Vekasi, Jim. IV. Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation. (U.S.) 


974T45 — dC22 


Cover Photo: Acadia Trails crew installing rustic arched bridge on the Jordan Pond Path, 
2003. Photograph by Peter Travers. 








A. Alignment 4 

B. Views 15 



A. Bench Cuts 30 

B. Causeway 37 

C. Gravel Tread 48 

D. Stone Pavement 54 

E. Unconstructed Tread 63 


A. Culverts 71 

B. Subsurface Drains 87 

C. Side Drains 90 

D. Water Bars 95 

E. Water Dips 101 


A. Bogwalks 104 

B. Bridges 110 

C. Stepping Stones 131 


A. Checks 142 

B. Coping Stones 147 

C. Retaining Walls 155 

D. Log Cribs 171 




A. Blazes 219 

B. Cairns 223 

C. Directional Signs 230 

D. Informational Signs 238 

E. Scree 243 

F. Wooden Railings and Fences 246 

G. Trail Name 248 


A. Monuments 256 

B. Associated Structures 268 

Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


#15 Schiff Path 279 

#39 Jordan Pond Path 289 

#48 Jordan Cliffs Trail 303 

#127 Ship Harbor Nature Trail 311 

#349 Homans Path 321 


Bibliography 334 

Appendix A: Terminology 335 

Appendix B: Trail List 345 

Appendix C: Trail Naming Justification 355 

Appendix D: Sound Masonry Practices/Stonecutting 366 

Appendix E: Sample Trail Inventory 369 

INDEX 375 


A century ago, visitors to Mount Desert Island 
scaled granite peaks to enjoy breathtaking 
ocean views, and strolled leisurely through 
verdant stands of spruce and fir. These experiences 
were made possible by intrepid trail builders who 
used wood, iron, earth and stone to create a system 
that was unequalled in its scope and workmanship. 
Acadia National Park owes its very existence to the 
people who had the inspiration and foresight to 
protect this magnificent network of walking paths and 
the surrounding land for all to enjoy. When the park 
was formed in 1916, the first superintendent, George 
Bucknam Dorr, spoke eloquently of the need to 
protect the land: 

By taking the opportunity given to us by the richly 
varied topography of the island, by its situation on the 
border between land and sea, by the magnificent begin- 
ning made, and the government's cooperation, we can 
do something now whose influence will be widely felt. 

With the completion of this Cultural Landscape 
Report, we continue to honor the legacy of trail 
stewardship that began with Dorr and others so long 
ago. This project was truly a collaborative effort, and 
it is with deep gratitude that I recognize our partners, 
the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation and 
Friends of Acadia. 

In addition to recognizing the contributions of the 
past, this comprehensive document also looks to the 
future. The report has both documented existing con- 
ditions, and also provided a treatment plan for sensi- 
tive rehabilitation, an effort that is already underway. 
It will serve as a blueprint for maintaining the mag- 
nificent trails at Acadia for many years to come. The 
Acadia Trails Forever program makes this rehabilita- 
tion possible, and provides for the continued care of 
the trails in perpetuity. Future generations will surely 
benefit from these extraordinary efforts. 

Sheridan Steele 
Acadia National Park 

I would also like to thank our very professional trails 
crew at Acadia, now recognized nationally for its 
expertise in utilizing rehabilitation techniques, and 
commend Chris Barter, Margie Coffin Brown, Tracy 
Stakely, and Gary Stellpflug and numerous contribu- 
tors for their dedication to this project. Many local 
organizations and individuals generously contributed 
historic photographs and maps, allowing this cultural 
landscape report to serve as the most in-depth record 
of the history of the island's trail system. 



This project was funded by the National Park 
Service Cultural Resources Preservation 
Program (CRPP), the National Park Service 
Fee Demonstration Program (Fee Demo), and Friends 
of Acadia. The guidelines presented here were devel- 
oped through the combined efforts of staff at Acadia 
National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine, and the 
Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation in Brook- 
line, Massachusetts. Project direction was provided by 
Jim Vekasi, Chief of Maintenance at Acadia. Primary 
authors for the document include Christian S. Barter 
and Gary J. Stellpflug, from Acadia's trails program, 
and Margaret Coffin Brown and J. Tracy Stakely, his- 
torical landscape architects with the Olmsted Center. 
Sarah E. Baldyga, also with the Acadia trails program, 
illustrated the document. 

Many individuals assisted in the preparation of this 
report by providing narrative text, specifications, 
sketches, and photographs. Thanks to the following 
contributing park service staff, interns, and interested 
individuals: Brooke Childrey, Peter Colman, Judith 
Hazen Connery, Carl Demrow, David Goodrich, 
Laura Hayes, Charles Jacobi, Keith W. Johnston, David 
Kari, Lester Kenway, Courtney LaRuffa, Lauren G. 
Meier, David Salisbury, James Schissel, Lee Terzis, 
Lauren Laham, and Heidi Werner. Thanks to Jim 
Vekasi, Charles Jacobi, H. Eliot Foulds, and Chris Ste- 
vens for reviewing initial drafts and making substantive 
comments for the document's improvement. Special 
thanks to Paul F. Haertel, former Superintendent of 
Acadia National Park, and W. Kent Olson, President of 
the Friends of Acadia, for their continued support of 
trail preservation efforts at Acadia and the work of the 
Olmsted Center. 

Historical information used in this document and 
in other phases of planning for Acadia's trail system 
was obtained from numerous sources. Thanks to the 
following contributing repositories, agencies, and 
individuals for their assistance: Bar Harbor Historical 
Society— Ed Garrett and Deb Dyer; Bar Harbor Village 
Improvement Association — Les Brewer and Phil 
Cunningham; Friends of Acadia— W. Kent Olson and 
Maria Major O'Byrne; Harpers Ferry Library; His- 
toric American Engineering Record; Jesup Memorial 
Library in Bar Harbor — Nancy Howland; Maine His- 
toric Preservation Commission — Earle Shettleworth, 
Jr. and Kirk Mohney; Maine State Archives — Roy 
Wells and Ed Wheaton; National Archives — Helen 
Engle; National Park Service Northeast Museum Ser- 
vices Center — John Maounis and Liz Banks; North- 
east Harbor Library — Robert Pyle; Northeast Harbor 
Village Improvement Society — Dan Fait; Seal Harbor 
Library and Village Improvement Society — Deborah 
Burch; Trails of History — authors Tom St. Germain and 
Jay Saunders. The document was edited and indexed 
by Jane Crosen. Page layout and production was pro- 
vided by Brian P. Graphic Arts. 



In accordance with National Park Service (NPS) 
policy, the Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) 
serves as the primary supporting document to 
guide the treatment of a cultural landscape and is 
required before a major intervention. This report 
represents the second volume of the CLR for the 
Historic Hiking Trail System of Mount Desert Island. 
It articulates a strategy for the long-term treatment 
and maintenance of the trails within the boundaries of 
Acadia National Park (NP). While the first volume of 
the CLR focused on the history and significance of the 
overall trail system on the island, this volume focuses 
more specifically on the 103 marked, maintained trails 
within the park, which extend over 118 miles (see 
Appendix B). 

This volume is the culmination of several years of 
research, analysis, field inventory, and documentation 
necessary to synthesize voluminous information about 
the island's extensive trail system. The fundraising ini- 
tiative "Acadia Trails Forever," a partnership between 
the NPS and Friends of Acadia, has raised $13 million 
of private and federal funds to implement treatment 
and maintenance work through an endowment for the 
trail system. This document will help guide the efficient 
and appropriate use of these funds to protect park 
resources and ensure the highest-quality hiking experi- 
ence in Acadia NP. 

This introduction first summarizes projects completed 
to date that serve as the foundation for the treatment 
guidelines, including the research and analysis con- 
ducted for the first volume of the CLR, the trails crew 
inventory, field documentation, the nomination for the 
National Register of Historic Places, and the closely 
associated Hiking Trails Management Plan. Addition- 
ally, the overall treatment philosophy and approach to 
be applied to the trail system is presented here. 

Acadia's trail system has a unique history, with layers 
of significance from several historic periods and con- 
tributing groups. Some trails have features that are well 
preserved to a particular era with little or no alteration, 

while other trails include an assortment of features 
dating to different periods and builders. Examples of 
work from local village improvement associations and 
societies (VIA/VIS), the Civilian Conservation Corps 
(CCC), and the NPS may all exist on the same trail. 

This complicated development pattern calls for 
thoughtful consideration of the appropriate treatment 
approach. Through the development of the CLR, the 
goal for treatment of the trail system is to maintain the 
character and integrity of the system as a whole while 
preserving the unique qualities of each individual trail. 
It is extremely important that the implementation 
of treatment guidelines not create a homogeneous 
trail system with little differentiation between trails. 
Additionally, the guidelines should not establish an 
unrealistic treatment approach that calls for the reha- 
bilitation of every individual trail feature and would be 
impossible for the park staff to implement and main- 
tain. Instead, there should be a balanced approach that 
addresses the system's integrity, individual trail charac- 
ter, and acceptable levels of rehabilitation and mainte- 
nance that can be sustained by the park. This is no easy 
task, given the layers of history of the trail system, the 
number of character-defining features present on each 
trail, and the costs of individual trail rehabilitation and 
continued maintenance. 

Early discussions in the development of this report 
examined various treatment options for the trail sys- 
tem. One suggested approach was to group the trails 
into two categories — highly crafted memorial trails, 
and "Acadia Style" trails. The highly crafted trails 
would include approximately fifteen of the most highly 
constructed trails on the island, like the Beachcroft 
Path (#13) or Emery Path (#15). These trails would 
essentially be restored to their original constructed 
appearance and then maintained through a high level 
of effort. All other trails in the system would be main- 
tained to a slightly lower standard. Trail features would 
be identified that fit within a predetermined "Acadia 
Style," based on building techniques and materials 
used during the park's historic periods. These features 

Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

would be available for use on any trail, regardless of 
its individual history. It was soon understood that 
adherence to this approach would be detrimental to 
the character and integrity of the trail system. The indi- 
vidual character of each trail would be sacrificed for 
the convenience of a more uniform rehabilitation and 
maintenance plan. 

After much discussion, consultation, and active 
participation among Acadia park staff, the Olmsted 
Center for Landscape Preservation (OCLP), the Maine 
State Historic Preservation Commission, and other 
interested parties, a more sound methodology was 
developed and is presented in this volume of the CLR. 
A general treatment approach has been chosen that 
focuses on rehabilitation of Acadia's trails in a way 
that preserves individual trail character as well as the 
character of the overall system of trails while address- 
ing the park's maintenance concerns. 

To facilitate this approach, trail features common 
to the whole system are identified and the unique 
character of each individual trail is addressed. Sec- 
tion 1 of this document presents specific feature types 
such as bridges, iron rungs, and steps. Each feature is 
identified and described with construction specifica- 
tions where applicable. Similar to the "Acadia Style" 
approach described above, the features have been 
identified as having historic precedent at the park for 
the VIA/VIS or CCC periods. However, unlike the 
previous approach, every feature type is not deemed 
appropriate for use on every trail. In Section 2, indi- 
vidual trails are examined to determine their original 
character, their layers of development, and which of 
the identified trail features from Section 1 are or are 
not appropriate contributors to the trail's individual 
character. Treatment guidelines are provided address- 
ing appropriate feature types to use during rehabilita- 
tion of that particular trail. Although every individual 
feature on a trail is not addressed, guidelines are 
established for each trail based on its unique character 
and development, allowing rehabilitation to proceed in 
an informed manner. 

Trails that have an extensive individual history and 
numerous built features, like the highly crafted memo- 
rial trails, will be covered in a high level of detail and 
will be held to more exacting rehabilitation standards 
to ensure their character and integrity are not dimin- 
ished. These trails typically have more thorough 
historic documentation, providing a sound foundation 
for guiding their treatment. However, all trails in the 
system, whether highly crafted or not, will still main- 
tain their individual character since only features that 
are appropriate to the trail's historic precedents will 
be recommended for use. This approach will maintain 
diversity in Acadia's trails while still allowing room for 
the inevitable change that is needed to address present 
trail concerns such as resource protection, increase in 
visitor use, and level of maintenance. 

In many cases, relevant information on trail features 
and characteristics are drawn from trails that are no 
longer marked, outside park boundaries, or actively 
maintained by the Seal Harbor VIS or Northeast 
Harbor VIS. Due to the large land area, treatment 
specifications are presented as narrative guidelines 
for feature types and individual trails, rather than a 
detailed treatment plan for each section of trail. The 
narrative guidelines articulate the historical context, 
character-defining features, and the parameters for 
rehabilitation of the trail based on contemporary 
issues, constraints, and operational needs. The guide- 
lines are phrased as recommendations, in recognition 
that each individual trail section will present a different 
set of issues. 

The intended audience for this document includes 
individuals who are extremely familiar with Acadia's 
trails and are involved in the planning process as 
well as those who may be unfamiliar with the trail 
system and/or trail construction in general but may 
be involved in future trail rehabilitation efforts. As 
a result, this document relies heavily on graphics to 
complement and enhance the narrative. Numerous 
photographs and sketches are included to clarify the 
text, illustrate historic and existing conditions, and 
provide examples of both acceptable and unacceptable 
usage of specific trail features. 



Each trail included in this study is assigned a num- 
ber that corresponds to key maps and an associated 
database. The currently maintained trails, most of 
which were present during earlier historic periods, are 
numbered to correspond with a database and work 
log used by the trails maintenance program. The trails 
on the east side of Mount Desert Island are numbered 
between 1 and 99, and on the west side in the 100s. 
Trails numbered in the 200s are located on other park 
lands at Isle au Haut and Schoodic Peninsula. Trails 
on Mount Desert Island that are no longer marked 
have been assigned numbers in the 300s, 400s, 500s, 
and 600s according to "path districts" defined at the 
turn of the century by the Joint Path Committee of 
the village improvement associations and societies 
illustrated in Drawing 3. For example, the Royal Fern 
Path (#305), which is not currently marked, has been 
assigned a number in the 300s because historically it 
was located in the Bar Harbor Village Improvement 
Association path district. During the development of 
the park's Hiking Trails Management Plan, additional 
new routes were proposed and given numbers in the 
700 series. 

1-99 East side Mount Desert Island, marked, 

maintained trails 
100s West side Mount Desert Island, marked, 

maintained trails 
200s Park trails not on Mount Desert Island 

(Isle au Haut and Schoodic) 
300s Bar Harbor VIA path district historic trails 
400s Seal Harbor VIS path district historic trails 
500s Northeast Harbor VIS path district historic 

600s Southwest Harbor VIA path district historic 

700s Proposed new trails as listed in Appendix 2 

of Hiking Trails Management Plan 

The numbering system is encoded with some informa- 
tion about the location and management of each trail, 
but it is not correlated with the trail's construction 
period. The park maintenance staff established the 
0-99, 100s, and 200s numbering system in the 1950s, at 

a time when many trails were closed or renamed. As a 
result, many trails are composed of sections that date 
to different periods. For example, the lower end of the 
Beachcroft Path (#13) is overlaid by earlier sections of 
the Wild Gardens Path (#354 and #18), and the upper 
end is actually the Black and White Path (#326), which 
originally extended from Beaver Dam Pool to the sum- 
mit of Champlain Mountain. Some explanations are 
included in the individual trail data in the appendices. 
More detailed individual trail histories and descrip- 
tions are part of the rehabilitation guidelines, as shown 
in the five examples included in the second section 
of this cultural landscape report. The trail numbers 
should thus be used to cross-reference tables, maps, 
appendices, maintenance records, and the associated 

The terminology for trails has changed over the time 
period of this study. Prior to automobiles, all roads 
were for walking and were referred to as roads, lanes, 
paths, or passes. During the late 1800s "sidewalks" 
referred to paths along roads while "wood paths" 
extended into the more remote parts of the island. 
Most new routes built by the path committees of the 
village improvement societies were naturally referred 
to as paths, such as the "path up Newport Mountain" 
and the "Ladder Path." Some twentieth-century VIS 
path maps also defined "broad graded paths" with 
a double red line for major routes such as the Asti- 
cou Path. Paths on which horses were allowed were 
referred to as "bridle paths." The term "trail," associ- 
ated with pioneer wagon routes in the nineteenth 
century, became popular for recreational routes in the 
twentieth century. Early use of the word is associated 
with some of the steeper routes, such as the "Precipice 
Trail." Under National Park Service management, 
the term is attached to most of the routes, such as the 
"Ladder Trail." At present the only routes to retain 
the name "path" are the endowed memorial trails and 
routes that are no longer marked. When appropriate, 
names designated at the time of path construction will 
supersede subsequent spelling alterations. For exam- 
ple, the current "Beachcroft Path" was erroneously 
called the "Beechcroft Trail," and the "Jesup Path" was 
the "Jessup Path." 

Acadia trails Treatment plan 

Changes in the names of the mountains have also 
created confusion. The park's first superintendent, 
George Dorr, renamed mountains in 1918 to highlight 
the island's history during the period of European 
exploration. For example, Newport Mountain was 
renamed Champlain, Dog Mountain became St. Sau- 
veur, and Green Mountain became Cadillac. Conse- 
quently, many of the summit trail names were changed. 
A more detailed discussion of trail names is found in 
Chapter Nine. Throughout this volume present-day 
names are used. For example, the Jordan Pond Path 
was once referred to as the Jordan Pond Loop Trail 
and the Long Pond Trail has also been referred to as 
the Great Pond Trail. Where clarification is needed, 
alternate names are placed in [brackets]. 


The content of the first volume of the Cultural Land- 
scape Report is summarized below in order to describe 
the foundation for the treatment guidelines. Related 
projects including the inventory of trail features, field 
documentation, and preparation of a nomination 
for the National Register of Historic Places are also 


The earliest trails on Mount Desert Island (MDI) 
were probably Native American canoe carry trails 
between lakes. In the 1760s, English colonists settled 
in protected coves and widened some Native Ameri- 
can routes for cart paths. New roads were higher and 
drier and linked inland farms and logging camps with 
coastal ports. In the late 1700s, settlement increased 
and roads were extended across the island, connect- 
ing distant villages. The island's tourism budded in 
the mid-1800s when dramatic paintings by artists of 
the Hudson River School drew an increasing num- 
ber of summer travelers to see and write about the 
island. Pedestrian excursions and mountain climbs 
were essential components of an island visit. Popular 
destinations included Schooner Head, Great Head, the 
summit of Green [Cadillac] Mountain, Sargent Moun- 

tain, and Beech Cliffs. Early visitors scrambled up the 
lower sections of mountains as best they could until 
they could walk easily across bare rock ledges to the 
summit. By 1850 climbers could follow a rough road up 
Green [Cadillac] Mountain built to the summit station 
of the United States Coastal Survey. 

After the Civil War, technological advances in ship- 
ping, travel, and communications contributed to 
a postwar boom in tourism. Mount Desert Island 
attracted some of the country's most influential fami- 
lies, who transformed the landscape that had epito- 
mized the American wilderness into a summer resort. 
Individuals who would later contribute greatly to the 
path system first came to the island during this period, 
including Charles Eliot, Edward Rand, George Dorr, 
and Waldron Bates. A series of guidebooks printed in 
the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s described popular des- 
tinations on the island, including walking routes to 
mountain summits and other scenic places. During this 
time tourists created the framework of the existing trail 
system. Trails departed from village roads, winding 
through the woods and along streams to mountain 
ridges and summits. By the 1880s these trails were well 
worn, with some marked by cairns. Some of the most 
popular early trails had extensive built features, such 
as retaining walls and gravel tread on the Shore Path 
(#301) in Bar Harbor and rustic wooden bridges on 
the Duck Brook Path (#311). Pond-side trails were less 
common, as boats were typically used to cross water 
bodies such as Eagle Lake and Jordan Pond. 

A perceived loss of American wilderness in the late 
1800s led to a greater interest in preserving scenic 
areas. The deplorable conditions of American cit- 
ies and rapid growth of railroad suburbs prompted 
citizens to seek ways to improve their communities. 
As a result, civic-minded individuals initiated land 
preservation programs and "village improvement 
societies." Mount Desert Island summer residents and 
local businesses, heavily invested in the spectacular 
scenery of the island, feared that its natural beauty 
would be lost to overdevelopment, indiscriminate 
logging, railroad lines, and the urbanization from 
which they sought refuge. These concerns led to the 


formation of the Hancock County Trustees of Public 
Reservations and village improvement societies in Bar 
Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Seal Harbor, and South- 
west Harbor. Individuals interested in walking paths 
also worked cooperatively through the Joint Path 
Committee of the village improvement societies. One 
of the lasting contributions of this civic movement was 
a carefully constructed, privately funded, island-wide 
path system from the villages to protected natural 
areas. A memorial path system, initiated with the nam- 
ing of the Waldron Bates Memorial Path (#525) along 
Chasm Brook and the placement of a plaque at Cadil- 
lac Cliffs in 1910, expanded under the leadership of 
George Dorr, as many of the founding members of the 
summer cottage community were laid to rest. Friends 
and fellow members paid tribute to the deceased by 
funding the construction of a trail, placing a commem- 
orative plaque along it, and endowing the trail with a 
maintenance fund in perpetuity. Highly crafted trails, 
such as the Beachcroft Path (#13) and Kane Path (#17) 
were endowed. At the same time rigorous rung trails 
constructed under the direction of Rudolph Brunnow, 
such as the Precipice Trail (#11) and Beehive Trail (#7), 
were funded by donations and dues to the Bar Harbor 
VIA in the 1910s. 

The establishment of the Sieur de Monts National 
Monument in 1916, which later became Lafayette 
National Park in 1919 and Acadia National Park in 
1929, ushered in a new era for the island's path system. 
When established, the 5,000-acre park contained a 
small fraction of the island- wide trail system that by 
this time covered over 200 linear miles. The village 
improvement path committees continued to be very 
active, maintaining and building elegant new trails on 
both private and federal property. This was beneficial 
to the new park since it had limited staff and funds 
for maintenance. Expansion of Rockefeller's carriage 
road system, construction of a park motor road sys- 
tem, and changes in the names of mountains sparked 
protests from path users and village improvement path 
committees. Concurrently, the construction of new 
summer cottages and the inflow of money to the island 
began to decline. Many of the activities of the village 
improvement path committees were suspended during 

American involvement in World War I. After the war, 
new trail construction resumed yet not with the same 
fervor, as path committee members felt the system 
complete. Memorial path construction continued 
during and after World War I. Six trails were endowed 
between 1924 and 1930, including the A. Murray 
Young Path (#25) and Gorge Path (#28). 

Federal work programs in the 1930s created as part of 
President Roosevelt's economic recovery plan contrib- 
uted to the expansion of the trail system. Unlike the 
trails built by the local village improvement societies 
that radiated from villages, paths built by federal work 
crews were laid out within the park boundaries and 
in conjunction with new visitor parking areas, roads, 
picnic areas, swimming areas, and campgrounds. 
With these new facilities, the park became increas- 
ingly separated from the surrounding villages and 
connector trails. Like the village improvement trails, 
those built by federal crews were of high quality due 
to the tremendous amount of "man-days" of physi- 
cal labor, use of mechanical equipment, and carefully 
prepared designs by park service landscape architects 
and engineers. Trails built by the Civilian Conservation 
Corps (CCC) included the Ocean Path (#3) and Otter 
Cliff Path (#340) along Ocean Drive, the Perpendicular 
Trail (#119), Long [Great] Pond Trail (#118), and Beech 
Cliff Ladder Trail (#106). 

During World War II there was little use or mainte- 
nance of the trails. In the first two decades after the 
war, park visitation increased dramatically, but trail use 
did not. This nationwide trend was attributed to the 
romance of auto-touring and camping. With new park 
roads and campgrounds at Blackwoods and Seawall, 
Acadia was an ideal motoring destination. Trails in 
close proximity to the roads and parking areas, such as 
the Ocean Path (#3), received the greatest use. Visitors 
rarely used the Recreational Development Areas on 
the island's western side at Pretty Marsh, Pine Hill, and 
Oak Hill, or the trails associated with them. 

As a result of the park motor roads, facilities, and 
maps, there were in effect two trail systems. The first, 
located within park boundaries, was represented on 

Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

park maps and used by visitors. The second was the 
preexisting path system built by the village improve- 
ment path committees and known by residents. 
Through time the second system became increasingly 
obscured. By the 1940s, many long-term members of 
the path committees were no longer able to tend the 
trails and many lost their homes in the 1947 fire. As a 
result, most maintenance responsibilities were trans- 
ferred to the park service. With a limited crew and 
budget, the park concentrated on trails that received 
the heaviest use. In the 1950s the park closed trails that 
were seldom used, in poor condition, ran parallel to 
other paths, or led walkers onto private land. A few 
new trails, such as the Ship Harbor Trail (#127), were 
built between 1956 and 1966 as part of "Mission 66," 
a program initiated to celebrate the fiftieth anniver- 
sary of the NPS and modeled after the 1930s work 

Trail use remained low until the 1970s when there was 
a nationwide resurgence in recreational walking. With 
a limited budget and personnel, park maintenance 
crews struggled to keep up with the increased trail 
use. Persistent problems included trail erosion caused 
by heavy foot-traffic and confusion caused by trail 
closures and inconsistencies between trail guide maps 
and signs. In the 1980s and early 1990s the trails main- 
tenance program benefited by being administratively 
separated from other park maintenance programs, and 
by the assistance provided by annual cooperative work 
crews from the Acadia Youth Conservation Corps 
(AYCC), Friends of Acadia, Appalachian Mountain 
Club (AMC), and Maine Conservation Corps. With a 
trail maintenance program endowment from Friends 
of Acadia donations and park funds, these treatment 
and maintenance guidelines will set standards for the 
trails program in the new millennium. 

Existing — Trails Inventory and 
Field Documentation 

Although trail documentation had been underway at 
the park since the mid-1980s in the form of trail feature 
inventories, photographic documentation of the MDI 
trail system's existing conditions for development of 
the Cultural Landscape Report began in 1997, with 

additional photo-documentation completed by the 
staff of the Acadia NP trails program in subsequent 
years. Many of these photographs are incorporated 
into the treatment plan. These investigations found 
that much of the original stone- and ironwork carried 
out by the village improvement societies and the CCC 
is still evident. Most wood construction, however, has 
decayed and been replaced once or several times. Most 
trails have been altered by high use, which has caused 
erosion of tread, widening, and the dislocation or loss 
of built features such as steps and coping stones. The 
CLR provides a brief summary of the existing condi- 
tions of built features and landscape characteristics; 
however, the best records are kept by the Acadia 
NP trails maintenance program. For each trail that 
is actively maintained, a computer database lists the 
location, number, type, and condition of built features 
on each trail. This inventory serves as the baseline 
information for work logs and field projects. 

Of the 270 miles of historic trails included in the CLR, 
approximately 118 miles are currently marked and 
maintained by the park, while 107 miles within the park 
are no longer marked or are overlaid by roads. Some 
15 miles of trails that extend beyond park boundaries 
are maintained by local village improvement societ- 
ies, while 30 miles are no longer marked. The park's 
marked trail system extends over all major peaks on 
the island, along lake shores, streams, and the rocky 
coast. Trails range from flat shoreline paths to cliff 
climbs with rungs and ladders up nearly vertical faces, 
rising in elevation from sea level to 1,530 feet on the 
summit of Cadillac Mountain. Of the marked, main- 
tained trails, 63 percent ascend mountains to ridge- 
lines and summits, 29 percent lead walkers through 
the woods and along pond shores, and 8 percent are 
coastal trails. There are approximately 85 miles of 
marked trails on the east side of the island and approx- 
imately 30 miles on the west side. The most remote 
trails are on the north side of Western Mountain. 

The park receives approximately three million visitors 
a year and most experience some part of the hiking 
trail system. In developing the HikingTrails Manage- 
ment Plan, park planners classified the maintained 


trails according to difficulty and found 3 percent very 
easy, 15 percent easy, 52 percent moderate, 22 percent 
difficult, and 8 percent ladder trails with very steep 
inclines and sharp drop-offs. Certain trails receive the 
greatest use due to their proximity to parking areas 
such as on Cadillac Summit, scenic features such as 
Bass Harbor Head Light, and cultural centers such as 
Jordan Pond. The trails program estimates that 21 per- 
cent of the trails receive high use, 47 percent receive 
moderate use, and 32 percent receive low use. 

Historical Significance of the Trail System — 
Nomination for the National Register 

To develop appropriate treatment guidelines, an 
important step was to determine the historical sig- 
nificance of the trail system, particularly since it is the 
oldest and most extensive of the park's three historic 
circulation systems of trails, carriage roads, and motor 
roads. Understanding the significance of the trail 
system from a local, state, and national perspective 
involved a separate study as part of a multiple-property 
listing for the National Register of Historic Places. 
This study found the historic trail system of Acadia 
National Park eligible for the National Register as a 
historic district for its significance during the period 
of 1867-1942 in the areas of community planning and 
development, conservation, recreation, and landscape 
architecture. A nomination for the trail system was 
drafted in 1999. 

The influence of the village improvement associa- 
tions and societies (VIA/VIS) of Mount Desert Island 
is described in the context statement "Community 
Development and the Origins of Acadia National 
Park." In building the trails, the VIA/VIS groups made 
the scenic resources of Mount Desert Island acces- 
sible to residents and other recreational users. The 
system is also significant for the VIA/VIS construction 
and design style as described in the context of "Rustic 
Design— The Picturesque Style." The trails built by 
these civic organizations display superior craftsman- 
ship in construction techniques that are indicative 
of the picturesque style, including the creative use of 
materials like stone for cairns, steps, ramps, bridges, 
walls, and drainage features; wood for bridges, signs, 

railings, benches, and structures; and iron for rungs, 
ladders, and bridges. Additionally, the trails evidence 
the careful selection of routes to provide access to 
natural features including interesting rock formations, 
water bodies, forested lowlands, and dramatic island 

Additional significance for the system is described 
by the subtheme "Rustic Design in the National Park 
Service" for trail work accomplished during the New 
Deal federal and state work programs, including the 
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Civil Works 
Administration (CWA), and Works Progress Adminis- 
tration (WPA). Through these programs, several trails 
were built or rebuilt, which exemplify the rustic design 
style popularized by NPS architects and landscape 
architects during this period. The paths increased 
accessibility for public enjoyment and were built to 
harmonize with the natural setting using local materi- 
als. The system reached its peak size in 1942 during the 
New Deal work. 

Integrity of the Historic Trail System 

Integrity is the ability of a historic resource to evoke 
its appearance from the historic period of significance. 
For the Acadia trail system, an evaluation of integrity 
was conducted as part of the National Register nomi- 
nation described above for the historic period of 1867 
to 1942. An understanding of the aspects of integrity 
inherent in Acadia's trail system is critical in the devel- 
opment of treatment and maintenance guidelines to 
ensure that historical significance is not diminished as 
a result of treatment actions. Seven qualities of integ- 
rity were evaluated, including location, design, setting, 
feeling, association, materials, and workmanship. 

Location refers to the place where the trail system 
was constructed and the alignment of individual trails. 
Although many of the hiking trails on the island are 
still marked and maintained and retain their original 
route, the extent of the trail system and the number 
of trails marked and maintained has diminished since 
the historic period. The system was reduced, begin- 
ning in the 1940s, with the disuse and abandonment of 
trails outside the park that connected to island villages 

Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

or individual residences, and in the 1950s, with the 
closure of trails in the park. A few trails or sections of 
trails have changed their route since the historic 
period. Reasons include the construction of motor 
roads, carriage roads, changes in water level due to 
beaver dams, and connections to new park facilities. In 
most cases the overall character and intent of the trail 
has been retained. 

Design refers to the aesthetic choices made in the 
form, plan, and style of the trails network, the con- 
scious layout of trail route, its winding or straight 
character, its width, its relationship to scenic, natural 
and cultural features, and the choice of materials and 
methods employed to construct the trails. As described 
earlier, the trails within the system are significant as 
examples of rustic design in the picturesque style car- 
ried out by the VIA/VIS and rustic design work by the 
NPS. Most of the original trail routes are still evident 
with some exceptions as described in the previous 
paragraph. Most scenic, natural, and cultural features 
that were part of the original trail design remain, 
such as lakes, summits, and rock formations, with the 
exception of cultural features like the Building of the 
Arts, Russian Tea House, Green Mountain House, Sea- 
side Inn, and other hotels. Trail width has been altered 
in many places from the high volume of foot traffic 
and poor maintenance, but with rehabilitation work, 
improved maintenance, and/or the addition of certain 
trail features, foot traffic could be better contained. 

Setting refers to the physical environment of the trail 
system. As initially conceived and constructed, the trail 
system allowed people to transcend on foot from the 
populated villages and busy wharf areas into the pris- 
tine wilderness in the heart of the island. The construc- 
tion of the motor road system and carriage road system 
substantially dissected many natural areas, though 
much of this occurred during the historic period. More 
recently, heavy use of the trail system has changed the 
natural setting to one that is shared with many other 
people. The closure of many village connector trails 
altered the experience of transition from village to wil- 
derness. Current work in progress to reestablish village 
connector trails and management strategies to disperse 

trail users will enhance the integrity of the trail system 

Feeling refers to the expression or historical sense 
of a particular period. The VIA/VIS constructed and 
named trails, then prepared maps, guidebooks, and 
signs to direct people to the natural wonders, historic 
sites, and cultural attractions of Mount Desert Island, 
such as Cadillac Cliffs, Sieur de Monts Spring, and the 
Jordan Pond House. Similarly, the CCC constructed 
trails to connect park facilities with scenic areas. 
Today the trails offer the same experience, or feeling, 
that they were originally designed to provide. One 
exception, however, is the use of automobiles. During 
the historic period, most visitors came to the island 
by boat or by train then boat and stayed for a week, 
month, or longer. The island was experienced largely 
on foot or by carriage. Today the island is accessed and 
traversed primarily by automobiles and most hiking 
experiences begin by parking at trailheads. Although 
the automobile has impacted the island in significant 
ways, the trails, natural attractions, and destinations 
remain relatively unaltered and retain their ability 
to evoke feelings traditionally associated with Acadia's 

Materials are the elements and supplies used to 
construct the trails, including stone, iron, and wood. 
Much early stone work, from the turn-of-the-century 
VIA/VIS work to the 1930s CCC work, has survived 
intact. Stone steps, culverts, bridge abutments, cop- 
ing stones, and stone-lined or terraced tread surfaces 
have endured with little or no maintenance in certain 
areas. Original stone cairns can still be found on many 
of the summit trails, especially those that are no longer 
marked and maintained. A large amount of ironwork, 
including ladders, rungs, railings, and retaining pins, 
still exists on many trails. Some iron has been added or 
replaced and is compatible with the historic material. 
Woodwork, including bridges, benches, and signs has 
required frequent replacement. With each replace- 
ment the style and method of construction has evolved 
with available technology. Perhaps the most notable 
change in the trails over the past hundred years is the 
condition of the tread. Due to high use, most trails 


are extremely compacted, and in some places the 
width has increased over time to as much as 10 feet. In 
eroded sections the trails continue to widen as hikers 
instinctively walk around rough spots and exposed 
roots. These have been exposed by the combination of 
foot-traffic, water, and soil erosion. Extracting gravel 
fill from nearby borrow pits, a practice used by the 
VIA/VIS groups and the NPS up until the 1970s, has 
not been done in the past two decades, although the 
Trails Management Plan allows limited reestablish- 
ment of this practice. For extensive rehabilitation, a 
mix composed of small aggregate gravel, similar to that 
used for the carriage road surface rehabilitation and 
compatible with the historic tread, is transported from 
off-island sources. When transporting gravel is not fea- 
sible, split log bridges or "bogwalks" are constructed to 
cover low areas in need of rehabilitation. The tremen- 
dous increase in use has posed the greatest threat to 
the historic materials and is the greatest challenge in 
developing appropriate treatment guidelines. 

Workmanship refers to the physical evidence of the 
crafts of a particular period. In the process of devel- 
oping treatment guidelines, park staff studied and 
documented the multiple styles of workmanship found 
on the trail system. With a forty-year period of peak 
trail construction, there were many hands involved in 
trail construction, including federal work crews and 
four VIA/VIS organizations. Notable differences in 
methods of construction, tools used, and durability are 
described in the histories and specifications for feature 
types. For example, the method of step building ranged 
from loosely stacked, uncut stones to carefully laid, 
cut, and pinned steps supported with coping stones. 
The higher level of workmanship has generally proved 
more durable. The highly crafted character of many 
trails is still evident, though in some cases years of 
heavy use and natural conditions have caused erosion 
of tread, slipping of stones, and decay of woodwork. 

Association refers to the direct link between historic 
persons and events and the historic property. The trails 
built by the VIA/VIS groups were built in association 
with their respective villages of Bar Harbor, Northeast 
Harbor, Seal Harbor, and Southwest Harbor. The trails 

themselves, with associated structures and plaques, 
are physical evidence of the historic trail system and its 
builders and stewards. The integrity of the system has 
been diminished by natural conditions and the impacts 
of heavy use, which have resulted in loss of tread mate- 
rial, displacement of steps, dismantling of cairns, and 
loss of signs. The need for cyclic repair has resulted in 
new signs, repaired and resurfaced trails, and replace- 
ment bridges. 

In conclusion, Acadia's trails retain a high level of 
integrity for their historical significance. As treat- 
ment and maintenance guidelines are followed, every 
effort should be made to retain or enhance these seven 
aspects of integrity. The last section of this introduc- 
tion, which outlines the treatment approach and phi- 
losophy, contains a list of recommendations that will 
ensure historical integrity is preserved. 

Historical Characteristics 

The analysis carried out in the first volume of the CLR 
contains a description of broad categories of landscape 
features and qualities that are central to the character 
of the trail system as a whole. Characteristics include 
natural systems, spatial organization, land use, cultural 
traditions, circulation, topography, views, vegetation, 
structures, and small-scale features. For this volume 
of the CLR, additional analysis was given to individual 
trails to determine the most significant character- 
defining features that provide trails with individual 
character and contribute to the overall character of 
Acadia's trail system. This analysis has resulted in 
an emphasis on many small-scale character-defining 
features like drainage systems, crossing structures, 
and trail signage. However, the features discussed 
under the broader categories, like topography, veg- 
etation, and views, are also addressed. The treatment 
guidelines identify appropriate methods and materials 
that will enhance rather than diminish all character- 
defining features that have been identified for the trail 



A separate but closely related report is the HikingTrails 
Management Plan, completed by the park in Febru- 
ary 2002. This document sets the overall direction for 
managing trails and hiking in Acadia NP, with actions 
to be carried forth over the next twenty-five years. The 
plan establishes goals for protecting park resources 
and providing high-quality visitor experiences, identi- 
fies issues related to protecting these values, and 
describes the preferred management alternative. In 
early stages of the plan's development, four possible 
alternatives were considered for management of Aca- 
dia's trail system. The first alternative was no action; 
the second, rehabilitation with emphasis on protecting 
natural resources; the third and preferred alternative, 
rehabilitation to protect natural and cultural resources; 
and the fourth, rehabilitation with emphasis on pro- 
tecting cultural resources. For each alternative, issues 
were examined, actions were prescribed, and environ- 
mental impacts were identified, leading to the selection 
of the preferred alternative. The following treatment 
issues are addressed primarily in the Hiking Trails 
Management Plan, although some are also discussed in 
this report. 

• Size and configuration of the trails system 

• Opening or closure of trails in large undeveloped 

• Source of construction materials 

• Beaver management in relation to flooded trail 

• Vegetation management at vistas and along trail 

• Trail impacts on threatened and rare species, 
species of concern, and sensitive communities 

• Trail disturbance to wildlife 

• Trail and trail use impacts on water quality 

• Trails with severe erosion 

• Trails through wetlands 

• Unauthorized abandoned trail maintenance and 
unauthorized new trail development 

• Social trails 

• Diversity of visitor experiences 

• Providing trails for hikers with special needs 

• Public transportation 

• Connector trails 

• Dogs on trails 

• Helping visitors choose appropriate trails to hike 

• Maps and information 

• Educating visitors about history of the trail system 

• Leave No Trace education 

• Trail system sustainability 

Additionally, several issues are addressed conceptually 
in the HikingTrails Management Plan but are covered 
in more detail in this report. These include: 

• Preserving the historic character of the trail system 

• Level of rehabilitation or priorities for trail 

• Trail names, signs, and markings 

• Keeping hikers on trails by guidance, barriers, and 
ranger patrols 

The list above highlights the complexity of decisions 
relating to the trail system. Ideally the Hiking Trails 
Management Plan and the treatment and maintenance 
guidelines presented in this report will work hand-in- 
hand to provide clear direction for all trail manage- 
ment and maintenance issues. 



The treatment guidelines that have been developed 
provide a long-term strategy for the care of Acadia's 
historic hiking trail system. They are intended to 
reinforce NPS tradition and its philosophical basis 
for the sound stewardship of cultural landscapes as 
outlined in "NPS 28: Cultural Resource Management" 
(1997) and The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for 
the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for 
the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes (1996, hereafter 
Secretary's Standards). The management goals for the 
trails established by the General Management Plan: 
Acadia National Park (1992) and the Hiking Trails 
Management Plan provide the framework for the 
preparation of these treatment guidelines. Issues and 
treatment alternatives have been evaluated through a 
series of meetings with park staff, in consultation with 
the Maine State Historic Preservation Commission, 
and a working group of experts from several organiza- 
tions. The process of recommending a historic preser- 
vation treatment approach included consideration of 
four possible alternatives: preservation, rehabilitation, 
restoration, and reconstruction. Rehabilitation was 
selected as the recommended treatment approach for 
the hiking trail system as justified below. 

Treatment Alternatives Considered 
but Not Recommended 

Preservation focuses on the maintenance and repair 
of existing historic materials and retention of a 
property's form as it has evolved over time. A preser- 
vation approach would prescribe the maintenance of 
trail features as they currently exist. It would allow for 
the replacement of existing features in kind, yet would 
not permit the addition of new features necessary for 
the increased use of the trails, such as the addition of 
more durable treadway on damaged woodland trails. 
A preservation strategy would lead to further degrada- 
tion and unsafe conditions on many trails. 

Restoration is undertaken to depict a property at 
a particular time in its history, while removing evi- 
dence of other periods. A restoration approach would 

require depiction of the trails to the period of sig- 
nificance of 1890-1942, defined in the draft National 
Register nomination. The implications of selecting a 
restoration treatment would require the obliteration of 
all trails built after this time, including several Mission 
66 trails and the reopening of many trails that lead 
outside of the park onto private land. The goals set 
forth in the General Management Plan and Hiking Trails 
Management Plan — to create new connectors and 
loops, protect natural resources, and make the trail 
system sustainable — make the restoration approach 

A reconstruction approach applied to the trail sys- 
tem would only be appropriate if the trails had been 
destroyed or if the pre-trail system landscape was 
determined so significant that its recreation was critical 
to the interpretive mission of the park. Reconstruc- 
tion is a rarely selected treatment alternative and is not 
applicable to Acadia's trail system. 

Justification for Treatment — Rehabilitation 

Rehabilitation as an approach for the treatment of 
historic properties allows for compatible use of a cul- 
tural landscape through repair, alterations, and addi- 
tions while preserving those portions or features that 
convey its historical, cultural, and architectural values. 
Rehabilitation acknowledges the need to meet con- 
tinuing or changing uses through alterations or new 
additions while retaining the property's historic char- 
acter. This treatment approach was deemed to be most 
appropriate due to the exponential increase in hikers, 
the need to provide safe, clearly marked trails, and the 
importance of protecting fragile natural resources. 
Rehabilitation is also the most consistent with the 
goals and direction of the General Management Plan 
and Hiking Trails Management Plan. The Maine State 
Historic Preservation Commission concurs that this is 
the preferred treatment approach for the trail system. 
The Secretary's Standards provides the following stan- 
dards to apply to a rehabilitation strategy for the trail 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

• Each cultural landscape is recognized as a physi- 
cal record of its time, place, and use. Changes that 
create a false sense of historical development, such 
as adding conjectural features from other land- 
scapes, are not undertaken. 

• Changes to a cultural landscape that have acquired 
historic significance in their own right shall be 
retained and preserved. 

• Deteriorated historic features are repaired rather 
than replaced. Where the severity of deteriora- 
tion requires repair or replacement of a historic 
feature, the new feature matches the old in design, 
color, texture, and, where possible, materials. 
Repair or replacement of missing features is sub- 
stantiated by documentary or physical evidence. 

• Additions, alterations, or related construction do 
not destroy historic materials, features, and spatial 
relationships that characterize the cultural land- 

• New work is differentiated from the old and is 
compatible with the historic materials, features, 
size, scale and proportion, and massing of the 


The trail system on MDI has a history of expansion 
and reduction over time, but for more than a century 
there has been an underlying vision that the trails allow 
access to and enjoyment of the island's wonderful nat- 
ural scenery. Before any modifications are made to the 
trails or to adjacent constructed features such as roads 
and buildings, changes should be carefully evaluated 
for their impact on nearby trails and the trail system. 

The treatment and maintenance guidelines in this 
document are based on an understanding of the 
significance and integrity of the trail system and its 
character-defining features. However, once the repair 
strategy for individual sections of trails is determined, 
it is advisable to evaluate the overall or cumulative 
effect of these changes to ensure that both the trail 
section and trail system retain the features, materials, 
and feeling that define the significance of the system. 
The following is a list of general principles that, when 

adhered to, will enhance the character and integrity of 
the historic trail system. 

• Preserve as much of the historic trail system as 
possible. Replace in-kind or rehabilitate historic 
features such as steps, bridges, walls, ladders, 
rungs, drainage, tread, markings, memorial 
plaques, and other historic trail features. 

• Maintain historic names and trail routes, with their 
winding or straight character, where possible. 

• Reroute trails only where necessary, and try to 
retain the character and design intent of the trail. 

• Retain original trail width where possible and 
allow for rehabilitation work to guide and contain 
foot traffic on designated trails. 

• Protect associated scenic, natural, and cultural 
features that are part of the attractions and desti- 
nations of the trail system, including rock forma- 
tions, vegetation, water bodies, views, buildings, 
structures, developed areas, plaques, and monu- 

• Preserve the original choice of materials and meth- 
ods used to construct the trails. 

• Prevent further dissection of natural areas by new 
roads or trails to maintain the wilderness setting of 
the trail system. 

• Preserve and rehabilitate village connector trails 
to preserve the feeling of hiking from a village into 

• Encourage public transportation to reduce auto- 
mobile use and enhance the island experience. 

• Use modern construction materials and methods 
that reduce material and labor costs and enhance 
durability where they are not visible or do not 
detract from the historical character. 

• Use historic methods or contemporary methods 
that produce the same level and style of work- 

• Preserve association with the four villages - Bar 
Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Seal Harbor, and 
Southwest Harbor. 

• Preserve association with park recreation areas 
and facilities. 

• Preserve associated historic structures and objects, 
such as the memorial plaques. 

• Protect associated archeological resources. 



There are two major sections contained in this report. 
Section 1 includes ten chapters identifying and 
addressing feature types currently or historically pres- 
ent on the trail system, such as bridges, culverts, tread 
materials, and monuments. Each chapter contains 
definitions, historical information, specifications, and 
maintenance guidelines for the feature type. Section 
2 addresses individual trails in the Acadia system. 
The trails' historical development, character, current 
use levels, and condition are discussed and used to 
develop recommendations for trail rehabilitation and 
identify appropriate features for use on the trail. The 
two sections are designed to work together as trail 
work is implemented. During early work planning, the 
individual trail documentation in Section 2 will recom- 
mend appropriate features for use on the trail, and as 
construction begins, information on feature specifica- 
tions, actual building techniques, and maintenance 
concerns can be obtained from the detailed informa- 
tion in Section 1. 

Research and planning for individual trails was still 
underway concurrent with the development of this 
report, and as a result all trails currently in the Acadia 
system were not included in Section 2 of this docu- 
ment. It was decided to include these five examples of 
individual trail documentation to illustrate how the 
planning process will work and how the individual fea- 
ture information provided in Section 1 will be utilized 
as individual trails are evaluated and rehabilitated. It 
is anticipated that as trail planning continues, all trails 
within the park will be documented to the level of the 
five examples presented here. 


The development of rehabilitation guidelines for Aca- 
dia's trails, consistent with the Secretary's Standards, is 
aided by several historic documents: 

• The Annual Reports of the Path Committees of 
the Bar Harbor VIA, Northeast Harbor VIS, Seal 
Harbor VIS, and Southwest Harbor VIA contain 
reports on the construction, maintenance, and 
addition of features on individual trails. Within 
the Bar Harbor VIA 1906 report, Waldron Bates's 
"General Instructions for Work on the Paths" are 
particularly useful in understanding early trail 

• Historic photographs from the Acadia NP 
archives; the National Archives in Waltham, 
Massachusetts, and College Park, Maryland; Bar 
Harbor Historical Society; and the Maine State 
Historic Preservation Commission in Augusta. 

• CCC guidelines and reports including the three 
volumes of Park and Recreation Structures, edited 
by Albert H. Good in 1938; Civilian Conservation 
Corps Field Training: Construction of Trails, pre- 
pared by Guy Arthur in 1937; and Standards for 
Trail Construction, prepared by Chief Engineer 
Frank Kittredge in 1934. 

• Trail maintenance guides produced by the 
Appalachian Mountain Club, Student Conserva- 
tion Association, National Forest Service, and 
National Park Service. 



Winding steps on the Beachcroft Path, a memorial path constructed in 1915, then rebuilt and endowed in 1926. 


Trail Feature 

Acadia Trails treatment Plan 


Section l includes ten chapters providing detailed 
descriptions of types of trail features, including 
route, vegetation, treadway, drainage, crossings, 
retaining structures, steps, ironwork, guidance, and 
monuments and structures. The following information 
is provided for each feature type. 

Definitions: The composition and function of each 
feature is defined, including distinctions between 
similar features. Definitions for all features are also 
consolidated in Appendix A. 

Historical Use at Acadia: A brief history describes 
how, when, and sometimes why a feature was intro- 
duced to the island's trail system. Sources of informa- 
tion include documents, photographs, oral histories, 
and field examination. Trail construction techniques 
are summarized for the following eras: 

Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 
VIA/VIS (1890-1937) 
CCC (1933-42) 
NPS/Mission 66 (1943-66) 
NPS (1967-Present) 

Historical Characteristics: A distillation of the 
essential characteristics of the features that contribute 
to the trail system's historical appearance is provided. 
Whether, and how, these characteristics should be 
preserved or rehabilitated is addressed in the sections 
that follow. 

Treatment Issues: As part of this project, a working 
group, composed of park staff and experts from several 
organizations, evaluated trail features in the field to 
discuss what historical features define the character of 
individual trails; they also identified key issues relat- 
ing to rehabilitation. These "treatment issues" — such 
as safety, vandalism, impacts related to high use, and 
resource protection— that affect the historic character, 
rehabilitation, and maintenance of trail features, are 
the crux of this treatment plan and lead directly into 
treatment guidelines and specifications. 

Treatment Guidelines: Guidelines on how trail fea- 
tures should be rehabilitated are based on sensitivity 
to the historical characteristics of features balanced 
with current issues, constraints, and operational 
needs. For some features, such as stepping stones, the 
recommendations are straightforward — preserve the 
historic methods of construction and appearance. For 
others, new methods and materials are recommended 
while still maintaining the historic appearance. For 
example, the use of perforated-pipe subsurface drains 
instead of historic stone French drains is recom- 
mended. Although both types of drains absorb and 
redirect water from the treadway, the historic stone 
drains tend to clog and create maintenance problems. 
Some treatment recommendations are based on clear 
physical evidence and historical written and photo- 
graphic documentation, such as the specifications for 
Bates-style cairns and signs. The construction of other 
features is more difficult to discern, such as the first use 
of steps in the trail system. In these cases, field analysis 
in the form of trail archeology has aided the develop- 
ment of specifications. Many treatment guidelines have 
been influenced by the relationship of increased trail 
use to the sustainability and maintenance of historic 
construction methods. For example, to ensure visi- 
tor safety, bridges constructed to be compatible with 
the VIA/VIS style of construction require the use of 
larger-diameter cedar railings and posts than were 
used historically. 

Specifications for Rehabilitation Construction: 

Detailed specifications are provided for the size and 
type of materials, their placement, and related rehabili- 
tation construction tools and techniques. 

Routine Maintenance: For each feature, ongoing 
maintenance requirements are specified to ensure 
long-term preservation. 

Fig. 1-1 The routes of many of the trails at Acadia were laid out to provide outstanding hiking experiences over varied terrain and 
allow the opportunity for magnificent views. Here, hikers in the 1940-50s enjoy the scenery and view along a currently abandoned 
route to the Bubbles. 





Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


Some Acadia trails began as expedient routes to 
desired locations, while the design of others 
carefully led hikers along interesting routes 
through spectacular scenery. The characteristics of 
routes are described under two categories: 

A. Alignment 

B. Views 

Early nineteenth-century trails, including many of 
those in the Acadia system, tended to have a direct, 
destination-oriented alignment, such as to a sum- 
mit or shoreline. However, highly crafted VIA/VIS 
trails built in the late 1800s and early 1900s generally 
followed more interesting routes, leading to rock 
formations, attractive woodland areas, and views of 
distant island scenery (Fig. 1-1). Trails designed by the 
CCC maintained a similar focus, but also emphasized 
hiker comfort and trail sustainability, resulting in more 
evenly graded routes with switchbacks. 

In some areas, views that were once open are now 
obscured by vegetation. Logging in the nineteenth 
century and the great fire in 1947 resulted in an open 
landscape. Although the CCC carried out some vista 
clearing and forest thinning, these practices are now 
discouraged to protect the island's natural resources. 

Understanding the builder's intent in constructing the 
trail and selecting control points aids in maintaining 
the trail. Where trail sections are in poor condition, 
and rerouting is considered as a solution, an under- 
standing of the original route and its control points is 
essential. In some cases, rerouting may be necessary 
as a temporary measure until a section of trail can be 
properly repaired. Rerouting may also be considered 
as a more permanent solution for some trails. In all 
cases, the location of the historic trail and all reroutes 
needs to be carefully documented. 



The alignment of a trail refers to its placement on the 
landscape. When laying out a trail, a number of differ- 
ent alignments are possible between two points. 

Significant locations along the trail are called control 
points. These may include stream crossings, summits, 
ridges, cliffs, passages, views, and/or significant vegeta- 
tion. The ending points of a trail are called destination 
points. A hub is a central location at which a number 
of trails converge by design. 

Trail alignment can generally be classified into two 
major categories. Alignments that proceed directly 
from one control point to another by the most expedi- 
ent approach are called direct alignments. Trails that 
are engineered to follow a less direct path between 
control points are called designed alignments. 
Designed alignments are primarily used to preserve the 
structural integrity of the trail, achieve a desired trail 
aesthetic, or maintain a certain grade. 

The alignment of Acadia's trails can be further sub- 
divided into different route types. Although a trail 
may include several route types, the overall trail will 
usually be defined by a predominant type. A ridge-line 
route is a direct alignment following the top of a ridge, 
usually running from the base of a mountain to the 
summit. Nearly all north-south-running trails at Aca- 
dia are ridge-line routes, like the Cadillac Mountain 
North Ridge Trail (#34). A fall-line route is a direct 
alignment ascending straight up the fall line, the line 
representing the flow of water. Examples include the 
Pemetic Mountain Trail (#31) and the southern por- 
tion of the South Bubble Trail (#43). A sidehill route 
travels perpendicular to the fall line at some elevation 
along the side of a hill. This type of route is usually 
achieved by bench construction, such as the Pond 
Trail (#20), and may be either a direct or designed 
alignment. A switchback route is a designed alignment 

Chapter 1: Route; a. alignment 

Fig. 1-2 Streamside route on Maple Spring Trail (#58). 

made up of sections of sidehill route linked by rever- 
sals in direction in order to achieve a desired grade. 
A standard type of western construction, switchback 
routes can be found on most memorial and CCC trails 
including the Emery Path (#15) and the Beech Moun- 
tain South Ridge Trail (#109). A varied woodland 
route is a direct alignment traversing different kinds of 
terrain primarily through a wooded area, such as the 
Canada Cliffs Trail (#107), or along a spring or stream, 
such as the Maple Spring Trail (#58) (Fig. 1-2). A 
lowland route can be either a direct or designed align- 
ment that follows the bottom of a contour, or traverses 
a low, flat, or water-side area. Examples include the 
Jesup Path (#14) and Jordan Pond Path (#39). 

Each different route type is also associated with certain 
construction techniques. Fall-line routes are gener- 
ally unconstructed, but may contain steps, checks, and 
cribbing. Sidehill and switchback routes have benching 
and retaining-wall construction. Lowland routes may 
include causeways and stepping stones. 

Variations in alignment can also be described by how a 
trail responds to small-scale features in the landscape 
such as boulders or groups of trees. Alignments that 
are small-gesture tend to move around these features, 
resulting in many small direction changes on the trail. 
Many of these winding paths are unconstructed or 
minimally constructed, such as the South Bubble Trail 
(#43). However, small-gesture alignments are also 
used on some constructed trails, such as the Orange 
and Black Path (#348), primarily as an aesthetic choice. 

Fig. 1-3 The terminus of the Jordan Pond Carry Path (#38) at the 
north shore of Eagle Lake. This trail may have originally served 
as a portage route between water bodies. 

Alignments that are large-gesture tend to maintain the 
integrity of longer stretches of straight lines or curves, 
or to maintain evenly spaced turns or switchbacks in 
spite of landscape features. Most highly constructed 
trails, such as the memorial paths, the Jordan Pond 
Path (#39), and the CCC trails, are large-gesture. 



The earliest footpaths on the island, established by 
Native Americans, were primarily utilitarian in nature. 
Hunting, canoe portage, and seasonal migration routes 
traversed the landscape by the most direct, flat route, 
such as the Jordan Pond Carry Path (#38) (Fig. 1-3). 
With the arrival of Europeans, many of these paths 
were widened to become cart paths, and subsequently 


Fig. 1-4 Part of the Valley Trail's (#116) origin as a cart path can 
be seen in its width and linear character. 

For the most part, Europeans settled along the coast, 
relying heavily on fishing, lumbering, boatbuilding, 
and trade for their subsistence. Inland paths were 
necessary for lumbering and agriculture. These routes 
tended to be direct, traveling along natural benches, up 
moderate slopes and through saddles where the grades 
were reasonable for a cart. Although most of these 
routes are now roads, some remain as part of the trail 
system, including the eastern half of the Valley Trail 
(#116) which was originally an early cart path (Fig. 1-4). 

Fig. 1-5 The Bear Brook Trail (#10) was an early route later 
stabilized with trail features like these stone and wooden crib 

Recreational travelers, artists, and writers that came to 
Mount Desert Island in the 1840s and 1850s were eager 
to ascend the mountains. They chose the most direct 
routes from their accommodations, mostly in Somes- 
ville and Eden [Bar Harbor]. They followed cart paths, 
livestock trails, drainage paths, animal paths, and 
scrambled across open ledges to reach the summits. 
Eventually, they established trodden routes and began 
marking them with piles of stones. The routes of the 
Bear Brook Trail (#10), the South Bubble Trail (#43), 
and the eastern half of the Beech Mountain Loop Trail 
(#113) are examples of early direct routes that were 
later stabilized and became maintained trails from 
the 1920s through the 1990s. Summit routes like these 
tended to be ridge-line or fall-line routes (Fig. 1-5). 

When summer communities were established in the 
1880s, most rusticators arrived by boat. Village paths 
and cross-island paths allowed people to walk between 
communities and to popular destinations such as along 
the shore and to the Jordan Pond House. The Shore 

Path (#301) in Bar Harbor, the Asticou Path (#49), and 
the Seaside Path (#401) were some of the earliest main- 
tained paths, used by people of all walking abilities, 
in all types of dress. These routes were direct, being 
destination-oriented, used lowland or sidehill routes 
to maintain flat treadway and easy grades, with long 
straight and gently curved sections. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

With the establishment of the Bar Harbor VIA in 1890, 
the Northeast Harbor VIS in 1897, the Seal Harbor 
VIS in 1900, and the Southwest Harbor VIA in 1914, 
the path committee chairmen and members became 
trail designers. Each society also hired path superin- 
tendents who oversaw construction and maintenance. 
Some devoted chairmen, such as Waldron Bates, 
may have served in all capacities. New paths were 
proposed, laid out, and constructed annually and 
described in the VIA/VIS reports. Trail descriptions 
offer insights into the control points selected in laying 
out the route. Early trails were relatively simple, with 

Chapter 1: Route; A. Alignment 

Fig. 1-6 One of important features along the route of the 
Potholes to Eagles Crag Trail (#343) are these natural potholes in 
the ledge rock. 

many traveling along natural benches, up saddles, and 
along ridges, such as the Bracken Path (#307), Black 
and White Path (#326), and Deer Brook Trail (#51). 
As interest in path construction grew, and the skills of 
path builders improved, new trails were built to lead 
walkers to views and interesting rock formations. For 
example, Waldron Bates laid out trails through rock 
slides, underneath overhangs, along cliffs, and near 
natural features. Examples include the Giant Slide 
Trail (#63), the Eagles Crag Loop (#27 and #343), and 
the Gorham/Cadillac Cliffs Trail (#5). These early Bar 
Harbor paths tended to be varied woodland or fall-line 
routes with small-gesture alignment that was respon- 
sive to the rugged landscape (Figs. 1-6 & 1-7). 

The Dorr system of trails in Bar Harbor was the best 
funded of the VIA/VIS trails, especially as the practice 
of constructing trails in the memory of deceased loved 
ones came into vogue. These memorial trails, originat- 
ing from a trail hub at Sieur de Monts, ushered in the 
highest level of construction to date. Highly crafted 
stone work allowed trails to follow alignments which 
had not been possible earlier and make the trails com- 
fortably walkable for the clientele which had funded 
them. The classic Dorr alignments (Homans Path, 
#349, Kurt Diederich's Climb, #16, Emery Path, #15, 
and Beachcroft Path, #13) are large-gesture switchback 
routes through talus slopes and across cliffs. They 
required nearly continuous construction of stone 
steps, stone paving, retaining walls, and ironwork. As 
opposed to the earlier, direct routes to the summit, 

Fig. 1-7 A group of early hikers enjoying the Cadillac Cliffs on 
the Cadillac Cliffs Trail (#5). 

these designed alignments luxuriate in the ascent, take 
long, flat stretches through rock slides, switch back at 
stunning viewpoints, and reach for control points such 
as clefts in the rocks, overhangs, and waterfalls (Fig. 
1-8). This was to become the standard of alignment 
and construction technique that later builders would 
struggle to duplicate. 

Simultaneously, Rudolph Brunnow was aligning trails 
that also required extensive construction to achieve, 
but were substantially different from Dorr's align- 
ments. Brunnow tended toward small-gesture align- 
ments, taking many tight turns rather than sweeping 
moves through the landscape. None of Brunnow' s 
alignments could be called switchbacks, though none 
are exactly direct either. Brunnow also was the first 
to take direct routes up vertical cliff faces, using iron 
rungs and ladders to ascend the Precipice Trail (#11) 
and Beehive Trail (#7). 


Continuous trail construction created several trail 
hubs during the VIA/VIS period that provided easy 
trail access as well as gathering places for visitors of all 
types, not just trail users. Major hubs included Sieur 
de Monts Spring, the Building of the Arts, the Cadillac 
Mountain Summit, and the Jordan Pond House, the 
major hub of the Seal Harbor trail district. 

The signature alignment of Seal Harbor trails included 
large-gesture, lowland and sidehill routes. However, 
early in the period, many small-gesture, direct align- 
ments were developed. Some of these required large- 
scale construction to be achieved, such as the Jordan 
Cliffs Trail (#48) and the Pemetic Mountain Goat Trail 

As the period progressed, John Van Santvoord and 
Joseph Allen laid out trails along the coast, and access- 
ing nearly every stream, hill, ridgeline, and interesting 
rock formation to provide Seal Harbor summer guests 

with various loops. Nearby rock formations serving 
as trail control points included Tilting Rock, the Day 
Mountain Caves, Bubble Rock , and Jordan Cliffs (Figs. 
1-9 & 1-10). The Van Santvoord Trail, the only memo- 
rial path in the Seal Harbor district, follows an align- 
ment that is a unique hybrid. Its woodland sections 
are varied woodland routes, while its steep, highly 
constructed areas are switchback staircases in the style 
of Dorr's memorial trails, which probably served as a 
model. At the end of the VIA/VIS period of trail con- 
struction, sidehill alignments over ledge that depended 
on pinned logs and ironwork were constructed on the 
Bubbles (Fig. 1-11). 

As Acadia's trail network expanded, an increasing 
number of trails were without a specific destination 
other than to lead walkers through different areas and 
connect with existing trails. Examples include the 
Black Woods Trail (#440) and Day Mountain Caves 
to Pond Trail (#424). After the summer hotels closed 

Fig. 1-8 The route of the Homans Path (#349) takes the hiker 
through this unique rock formation. 

Fig. 1-9 A control point along one of the early Seal Harbor VIS 
trails was Tilting Rock. This image shows the rock circa 1900. In 
1922, the rock was toppled by vandals, but it was reset soon 
after by members of the Seal Harbor VIS. 

Chapter l: Route; A. Alignment 

in Seal Harbor, it is not surprising that many of these 
routes fell into disuse. 

Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor align- 
ments never achieved the sophistication represented 
on the Bar Harbor trails. They tended to be direct, 
small-gesture alignments of fall-line, ridge-line, varied 
woodland, and occasionally lowland route types. 
The Northeast Harbor VIS built many trails around 
Schoolhouse Ledge and to Eliot Mountain and Sargent 
Mountain to provide multiple loops. Routes followed 
ridgelines, streams, and natural benches below rock 
formations. Most are still marked and maintained by 
the Northeast Harbor VIS (Fig. 1-12). The Southwest 
Harbor VIA path system was the least developed. 
Many of the surviving routes are from earlier agricul- 
tural use, logging, and mid-1800s recreational trails. As 
a result, many of the trails are direct ascents. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

Trail routes added by the CCC connected visitor use 
areas, such as parking, picnic, and swimming areas, 
with remote scenic locales, such as pond shores and 
mountain summits. Two major hubs were devel- 
oped where hikers could park their cars and access 
a number of trails — the south end of Long Pond and 
the Beech Mountain parking area. As with all of their 
work, the CCC took an orderly and well-documented 
approach to aligning and constructing trails: 

Construction should not be started on a trail until the 
line has been flagged through to its destination (or to a 
definite control) and approved. This approval should 
be from all of the Branches which may have an inter- 
est in its construction. These branches will include 
the landscape architect who is in charge with utiliz- 
ing the scenic features and blending the trail with the 
landscape; the engineer who is concerned with the 
problems of construction; the forester whose duties 
involve the protection and propagation of natural 
cover; the geologist who will assist in locating the trail 
so as to take advantage of geographic and geologic 
features and protect them from destruction; and the 
wildlife technician in whose care the zoological and 
botanical values are entrusted. 

Fig. 1-10 The South Bubble Trail (#43) passes by Bubble Rock, 
giving hikers a close-up view of the natural formation. 

Fig. 1-11 The South Bubble Cliff Trail (#451) was a steep, sidehill 
alignment along ledge with pinned log supports. 

Fig. 1-12 The Asticou Hill to Little Harbor Brook Trail (#517) is 
a Northeast Harbor woodland trail that passes these ancient 
ocean-carved cliffs on its way from the summit of Eliot Mountain 
to Harbor Brook. 


Fig. 1-13 The CCC used string to lay out the route and finished 
grade of their new trails, as shown at the construction of the 
Ocean Path (#3) at Otter Cliffs. 

Fig. 1-14 Completed section of path shown in Fig. 1-13. The CCC 
emphasis on maintaining an even grade is evident in this newly 
completed section of the Ocean Path (#3) at Otter Cliffs. 

Nearly all CCC trails at Acadia consist of sidehill 
alignments, with many containing switchback sec- 
tions. Most of these trails were constructed as bench 
cuts in accordance with CCC guidelines. This allowed 
them to maintain a more consistent grade on trails 
like the Long Pond Trail (#118), Perpendicular Trail 
(#119), and much of the Ocean Path (#3) (Figs. 1-13 & 
1-14). However, it is interesting to note that where the 
construction ends on trails such as Beech Mountain 
West Ridge Trail (#108), Long Pond Trail (#118), and 
Perpendicular Trail (#119), the alignment reverts to 
fall-line, otherwise avoided by the CCC. This is evi- 
dence that these trails were not intended to be left as 
they are today. 

NPS/Mission 66 

The few trails that were added during the Mission 66 
period were built under guidelines similar to those 
issued during the CCC period. However, one of the 
goals of Mission 66 was to enhance visitor use and 
"enjoyment-without-impairment." During Mission 
66, trails were added to give access to outstanding 
features, particularly for interpretive purposes. A new 
trail at Anemone Cave (#369) was one example. 

The interpretive development at Anemone Cave will 
be unique in showing through aquaria and other means 
some of the richly varied life of the sea. Elsewhere will 
be roadside signs and trailside signs and markers and 
self-guiding nature trails to make known and interpret 
features of interest and importance to Acadia's Story. 

Mission 66 trails contained routes intended to meet 
the goals of increased access in interpretation. Exam- 
ples include the Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127) 
with its flat, wide trail corridor; the Anemone Cave 
Trail (#369) with its asphalt surfacing (Fig. 1-15); and 
the Beech Mountain Loop Trail (#113), a route over 
relatively easy grade that allowed access for equipment 
and supplies necessary to rebuild the Beech Mountain 
fire tower. 

National Park Service 

Since Mission 66, few new trail sections have been 
built in the park, and most of these have been reroutes 
of portions of existing trails. Of the new trails, all have 


Chapter 1: Route; A. Alignment 

been connectors to town, roads, or parking areas. The 
most significant new trail is the Great Meadow Loop, 
which incorporates sections of the abandoned Jesup 
Path (#14) and uses a similar lowland, direct, large- 
gesture alignment. The Western Mountain Connector 
(#616) is a newer multi-use trail on the western side of 
the island. It is a large-gesture trail that is largely out- 
side park boundaries and follows a varied woodland 

In the 1970s, a number of historic trail segments were 
rerouted as inexpensive solutions to problems such 
as beaver flooding, access to parking, downed trees, 
or trail disintegration. In most cases, these reroutes 
are small-gesture, unconstructed, varied woodland 
routes, and do not necessarily match the character 
of the trail segments they replaced. Reroutes tend to 
take the fall line and rarely make use of switchbacks. 
For instance, a reroute of the Gorge Path (#28) travels 
straight up and straight down a hill rather than take 
a more sustainable and more evenly graded sidehill 
route. In another case, the turn at the far northern sec- 
tion of the Long Pond Trail (#118) was short-cut due 
to continued wetness. A portion of historic causeway 
was abandoned and the reroute constructed with 
bogwalk. Similar reroutes were done on the Kane Path 
(#17), Andrew Murray Young Path (#25), the Cadil- 
lac Mountain North Ridge Trail (#34), and the Bowl 
Trail (#6) (in the 1990s). All of these reroutes aban- 
doned historic stonework (causeway, stone paving, 
steps, stepping stones, respectively) in favor of varied 
woodland routes (Figs. 1-16 & 1-17). However, a 1994 
reworking of a rerouted section of the Kane Path (#17) 
restored the trail's original character with the use of 
compatible stone pavement. 

Additionally, two short sections of trail near intersec- 
tions were rerouted in the 1970s in order to make 
intersections contiguous rather than offset: the Gorge 
Path (#28)/Cadillac-Dorr Trail (#22) intersection and 
the intersection of the trails at Birch Spring. Neverthe- 
less, intersection work was not attempted park-wide 
and a number of offset intersections remain, especially 
in the Seal Harbor district. 

Fig. 1-15 The route of the Anemone Cave Trail (#369) provided 
access to the shoreline cave. Originally, the trail led directly to 
the cave, as shown here. However, this section has since been 
removed, leaving only the upper portion of the trail route from 
a parking area to the edge of the rocky coast. Mission 66 crews 
paved the trail with asphalt, thereby providing easier access 
for visitors and enhancing opportunities for interpretation of a 
significant natural feature in the park. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

Alignments were direct, using Native American paths, old 
cart paths, agricultural and lumbering paths, and open 
ledges. Routes through saddles between hills, direct ridge- 
line and fall-line routes were predominant. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Many trails led to communities or hubs. Types of align- 
ment varied greatly. Sidehill, switchback, and large- 
gesture alignments were introduced to constructed trails. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Alignments were predominantly large-gesture, sidehill 
routes, often with switchbacks. Some alignments reverted 
to direct, fall-line routes at the ends of constructed work. 
All trails led from parking areas. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Alignments were easily accessible, relatively short, with an 
emphasis on interpretation and self-guided nature trails. 

NPS Period (1967-Present) 

Few new trail sections have been developed. Reroutes 
have been established for a number of reasons and gener- 
ally used direct, fall-line, and varied woodland routes. 

Acadia Trails treatment Plan 


1. Reroutes and/or Trail Closures 

Issue: Several alignment types are vulnerable to 
adverse impacts causing a consistent need for trail 
maintenance or rehabilitation. Fall-line alignments 
have considerable erosion as water is following the 
same path disturbed by foot traffic. Lowland align- 
ments often acquire standing or running water, 
depending on the trail grade, as well as exposed 
roots and eventually trail braiding as hikers seek 
higher ground. The use of historic alignments may 
also negatively impact adjacent natural resources, 
such as endangered or threatened species. However, 
the majority of these vulnerable routes are historic 
and a change in alignment may impact a trail's integ- 
rity. Rerouting trail sections with historic work may 
separate evidence of that work from the main trail and 
leave it inaccessible to hikers. Also, while trail con- 
struction techniques can solve many problems, often 
trails with vulnerable alignments have an uncon- 
structed character as their defining feature, and the 
addition of constructed features may not be appropri- 
ate. When, if at all, should new alignments, reroutes of 
trail segments, or closure be recommended? 

Treatment Guidelines: Since the alignment of a trail is 
a crucial part of its historic character, reroutes or clo- 
sure of trail segments should be considered carefully, 
and other options should be exercised whenever pos- 
sible. No reroute will be approved without the consent 
of Acadia resource management and the State Historic 
Preservation Office. The following factors should be 
evaluated prior to deciding to reroute. 

Reroutes or trail closing may be considered if: 

• Important natural resources, such as rare spe- 
cies or water quality, are severely threatened or 
currently being damaged by the use of the present 
route and a more sustainable route is identified. 

• The present route is not maintainable and/or is 
subject to repeated damage from landslides, flood- 
ing, or other circumstances. 

• The trail crews cannot practically get enough 
material to the site to rehabilitate the trail, such as 
in the case of very deep gullies or sunken treadway 
away from stone and soil sources. 

• The trail is to be made accessible under ADA 
guidelines and the correct grade cannot be 
achieved on the present route. 

Reroutes should be avoided if: 

• A substantial amount of important, character- 
defining historic work exists on the route or seg- 
ment in question. 

• The current route is the only viable route to reach 
important historic control points 

• The current route is the only viable route that does 
not threaten important natural resources. 

• Any viable new route will eventually develop the 
same problems as the present route. 

2. Offset Intersections and Trailheads 

Issue: At some trail intersections, trail ends do not 
line up at opposite sides of the trail or road they cross. 
Trailheads are often located near, but not at, the park- 
ing areas intended for their use. This can cause hiker 
confusion, or parking in unwanted locations. 

Treatment Guidelines: Offset intersections are a 
character-defining feature of some alignments, and 
should remain as a historic characteristic of these 
trails. Guidance features (signage, cairns, etc.) should 
be improved to alleviate hiker confusion. Reroutes, or 
the addition of short segments of trail to align intersec- 
tions, should only be considered if there is an issue of 
hiker safety (such as at dangerous road crossings) or 
if a high volume of hikers are consistently getting lost 
and improved guidance does not alleviate the problem. 
More latitude can be given to rerouting trail ends to 
align with parking areas, but the criteria listed above 
for trail reroutes should be followed. 

3. Beaver Dams 

Issue: High water caused by beaver dams has flooded 
trail tread, made trails difficult or impossible to tra- 
verse, and obscured historic work. Beavers cannot 
always be moved, for logistical or legal reasons, and 


Chapter 1: Route; a. alignment 

when beavers remain in an area, water levels often can- 
not be restored to pre-beaver levels. 

Treatment Guidelines: The management of the beaver 
population is addressed in the Hiking Trails Manage- 
ment Plan, which states: 

When beavers impound water and threaten trails, the 
NPS will first attempt to manage water levels by install- 
ing fences around culverts and pipes through beaver 
dams. This work will be prescribed and supervised by 
the park wildlife biologist. If those efforts are not suc- 
cessful, further management actions such as rerouting 
the trail and adding structures such as boardwalks will 
be considered on a case by case basis; actions will also 
include an assessment of the cultural significance of 
the trail. Beavers will be moved to other areas if open 
habitat is available. Beavers will be euthanized only 
when other attempts have failed or are impractical 
and when the trail segment affected is a highly signifi- 
cant cultural resource. Before developing new trails 
or opening abandoned trails, the NPS will consider 
potential effects on beavers so that negative effects can 
be reduced or eliminated. 

As discussed above, each case of beaver flooding 
should be examined independently to determine the 
best course of action for the affected resource. 

they may not be abandoned in the foreseeable future. 
It is impossible to predict how long it will take beaver 
to leave a given site, and a solution is still necessary in 
the interim. The longer a beaver dam remains intact, 
the more that surrounding habitats adjust and there- 
fore greater disruption to the environment may result 
if the dam is eventually removed. As stated above, 
euthanasia of the beavers would be the last resort if all 
other options are unsuccessful and the affected trail is 
of significant cultural value. 

Mitigation efforts should also be performed on the 
trail itself, in conjunction with a selected method of 
beaver control. If efforts to lower the water level by 
beaver control are unsuccessful, the trail alignment 
may need to be altered. Depending on the significance 
of the trail, it could either be closed entirely or partially 
rerouted. The preferred procedure for a reroute would 
leave the existing trail route and historic features 
where they are and construct a new segment of trail 
above the high-water mark with compatible features. 
This will maintain the integrity of the historic trail, 
even though the original route will be underwater and 
not accessible to hikers. If the beaver population even- 
tually moves and the water level recedes to previous 
levels, the original trail route should be reestablished 
and the rerouted section obliterated. 

There are several actions and considerations involved 
with removing the beaver and/or their dams. Interfer- 
ing with beaver activity, including removal or reloca- 
tion, may be prohibited by law in certain situations. 
Further, if existing beaver are removed, new beaver 
may simply move in to attractive areas, so a substantial 
commitment of resources needs to be made to keep 
any area "beaver free." Beaver "foolers" (pipes under 
a beaver dam allowing water to pass through) could 
be installed. This would result in a lower water level, 
and though this may also be regulated it will not work 
in all situations. Beavers can often find the end of the 
pipe and dam it up, resulting in the need for consider- 
able maintenance of "foolers" by park staff. Another 
option is to wait for the beaver to leave the area and 
then destroy the dam. Most beaver dams are eventually 
abandoned; however, some sites are so attractive that 


Once control points are identified, a number of general 
principles must be taken into account when choosing 
an alignment for a reroute. 

1. Do not follow streams or lakesides closely. 

2. Avoid wet areas. 

3. Keep grade reasonable. A grade of less than 10 
percent should be a target. Grades of greater than 
20 percent should be rare, and will usually require 
extensive construction. 

4. For drainage reasons and for maintenance of 
grade, avoid following the fall line; trail should 
angle across the fall line. This is less important if 
the trail is on ledge. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 1-16 Historic stepping stones on abandoned segment of the 
Bowl Trail (#6) flooded by beaver activity. 

5. Keep water crossings to a minimum. Cross water- 
courses high (where they are shallower) and use 
natural crossings if possible. Constructed cross- 
ings (bridges, etc.) should resemble those on the 
rest of the trail in character and placement. 

6. If possible, locate the trail on ledge, or on the most 
inorganic, stable soils. 

7. Generally choose long, climbing turns over 

8. If switchbacks are to be used, avoid "stacking" 
switchbacks in many tight turns. Instead, gain 
grade with longer stretches of trail. Choose natural 
barriers, such as boulders, large trees, or thick veg- 
etation to switchback around and accelerate the 
grade at the switchback to discourage hikers from 
taking off-trail shortcuts. 

9. Entrances to abandoned portions of a trail should 
be obscured. 

10. Historic work on an original alignment should be 
stabilized and left intact. 

11. Eroded or disturbed sections of an old route 
should be checked if necessary and revegetated. 


Through annual inspections, the condition of sensi- 
tive natural and cultural resources and safety concerns 
should be monitored. Adverse conditions may require 
consideration of temporary or permanent closure or 

Fig. 1-17 Reroute of flooded segment of the Bowl Trail (#6) 
shown in Fig. 1-16 located farther away from the edge of the 
pond. Bogwalk was installed to traverse wet, muddy areas. 
However, this feature is not in keeping with the historic stepping 
stones that are present on other sections of this trail. 


Chapter 1: Route; B. Views 



A view is an expansive or panoramic prospect offered 
by a broad range of vision, which is naturally occurring 
or deliberately contrived. Views of island and ocean 
scenery are central to the layout and configuration of 
the trail system. 

A vista is a controlled prospect of a discrete range of 
linear vision, which is deliberately contrived. Typically 
associated with constructed landscapes, one could 
argue that Acadia's trail system through expansive 
natural landscape scenery does not contain vistas. Sev- 
eral sections of highly crafted trail, however, were laid 
out deliberately through rock formations, to enhance 
one's experience of discrete natural features. 



Spectacular views of mountain, ocean, and lake scen- 
ery have lured tourists to Mount Desert Island for 
centuries. In the early 1800s, artists from the Hudson 
River School captured dramatic views on canvas, 
which drew an increasing number of summer travel- 
ers to see and write about the island. In travel guides, 
engravings, and photographs produced in the 1860s 
and 1870s, views from the mountain summits and 
views of interesting rock formations along the coast 
were most often documented. During the 1800s, most 
of the island's lower hills and valleys were logged or 
used for agricultural purposes, creating open trails 
with distant views (Fig. 1-18). 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

With the development of a marked and maintained 
path system, the VIA/VIS groups formalized a network 
of paths to led hikers to scenic views (Figs. 1-19 to 
1-21). Though far beyond the villages, this work fit 
within their mission to "preserve and develop the nat- 
ural beauties of the place, and to enhance their attrac- 
tions, by such artificial arrangements as good taste and 

Fig. 1-18 1875 view from the summit of Flying Mountain (#105) 
looking south over Fernald Cove and Southwest Harbor. 

Fig. 1-19 This circa-1920 postcard shows the view from Huguenot 
Head into Otter Creek Gorge, on the Beachcroft Path (#13). 

Fig. 1-20 Historic view south from Saint Sauveur Mountain 
(#102), circa 1920. 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

Fig. 1-21 Historic view toward Somes Sound and Echo Lake from 
Beech Cliff, circa 1920. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

Extensive logging and agriculture left open viewsheds that 
were both appreciated and documented by many artists 
and writers. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Many trails were constructed to access scenic views and 
rock formations. Diminished logging, protection, and 
regrowth of woodlands obscured some viewsheds. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

The CCC undertook extensive understory removal, or 
"woods cleaning," along trails to open up views. Outlook 
shelters were constructed at picnic areas. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

The fire of 1947 eliminates most woodland on eastern por- 
tion of island, opening expansive views and resulting in 
diminished maintenance of woodland trails and outlooks. 

NPS Period (1967-Present) 

Most of the park is wooded with views primarily from 
the summits. Development of adjacent lands has affected 
views park-wide. 

science may suggest." The VIA/VIS path committees 
also became increasingly interested the island's geol- 
ogy. Trails to such places included the Potholes Path 
(#342), marked in 1896 and 1907; the path to Tilting 
Rock (#423), marked in 1901; and the Cadillac Cliffs 
Trail (#5), built in 1906. Waldron Bates, Bar Harbor 
VIA Path Committee chairman from 1900 to 1909, was 
particularly active in the construction of trails to view 
rock formations and water features. Following Bates, 
Rudolph Brunnow, who constructed the Orange and 
Black Path (#12/348) in 1913, and George Dorr, who 
constructed the Homans Path (#349) in 1916, selected 
routes that led through rock formations, with work 
accomplished by Andrew Liscomb, the superintendent 
of paths for the Bar Harbor VIA. By selecting a winding 
route, constructing steps through fissures, and placing 
arch stones, the trails contain a sequence of views and 
vistas, both natural and contrived. Statements by the 
path committee chairmen amplified the enthusiasm of 
path builders to construct over 250 miles of trails to 
and through scenic areas, such as by Frank Damrosch 
in 1911. 

There are still scores of beautiful views, and interesting 
trails, which should be made accessible to our summer 
residents, and these will be made available as rapidly as 
the funds at the disposal of the committee will permit. 

In VIA/VIS path committee reports there is no docu- 
mentation of intentional clearing of vegetation to 
create views. The trail system was built on private land, 
however, and was susceptible to logging. Some trails 
were temporarily obscured when tracts of land were 
logged. Although logging opened up views, the VIA/ 
VIS, in alliance with the Hancock County Trustees of 
Public Reservations and the island's water companies, 
were opposed to the cutting of forests and sought 
protection for tracts of land for aesthetic and sanitary 
purposes. The shift from an island economy based on 
tourism rather than logging and agriculture resulted 
in the reforestation of much of the island, obscuring 
some viewsheds. With federal protection in 1916, the 
island's trail system became part of a national system of 
landscapes protected for spectacular scenery. 


Chapter 1: Route; B. Views 

Fig. 1-22 This 1932 plan for the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail (#33) identifies specific lookout view spots along the trail route. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

Further expansion of the trail system, under the 
direction of Park Superintendent George Dorr, took 
place in consultation with the NPS Landscape Divi- 
sion. Trails were added to the network that allowed an 
increasing number of motorists to enjoy scenic areas 
by relatively short hikes, such as the Cadillac Summit 
Loop Trail (#33), designed in 1932 and constructed 
in 1933. The CCC carried out additional construc- 
tion between 1933 and 1942. Routes were laid out in 
advance on paper with designated outlook points (Fig. 
1-22). The CCC also enhanced views into and through 
woodlands along the sides of trails by clearing brush, 
dead wood, and lower branches, such along the path 
around Lakewood (#309), near Anemone Cave (#369), 
and along the Ocean Path (#3) (Figs. 1-23 & 1-24). This 
practice would later be viewed as damaging to the 
landscape ecology. Also at this time, extensive clearing 
was done to create viewsheds from the carriage and 
motor roads and picnic areas. This type of clearing 
was not undertaken on the trail system, which became 
increasingly wooded. 

NPS/Mission 66 

Mission 66 trails focused on short trails over relatively 
easy hiking terrain through scenic areas, such as the 
Anemone Cave Trail (#369) and Ship Harbor Nature 
Trail (#127). Like earlier periods, vegetation clearing 
was emphasized for carriage and motor roads but not 
for hiking trails. The fire of 1947 dramatically opened 
up views on the eastern portion of the island, whereas 
the western side of the island became increasingly 
wooded. Views associated with the picnic areas on 
the western side of the island disappeared as the areas 
were seldom used and not maintained. 

National Park Service 

With limited logging for over a century, most trails at 
lower elevations travel through woods with limited 
views occurring only at rock slides and on ledges. 
Areas burned in the 1947 fire are now fully wooded 
with stands of birch and poplar. The park does not cut 
vegetation for trail views. Trails over ledges are very 
similar in character to when they were built, while 
mountains without summit ledges provide only limited 



Fig. 1-23 The CCC used both coping and retaining walls along 
the stairs at the edge of the overlook at Otter Cliffs and on the 
Ocean Path (#3), view in 1937. 





Hi m^ ■lit'"--" ! 3n*"- - 



Fig. 1-24 The CCC often cleared vegetation from the trails to 
provide opportunities for observing surrounding views, as well 
done here on the Ocean Path (#3), circa 1937. 

Fig. 1-25 View from the Precipice Trail (#11) toward Frenchman 
Bay in 1995. 

views. Currently, there are some visual intrusions into 
the park's viewsheds, including the largely expanded 
Jackson Laboratory, several new homes along the 
coast, and a water treatment plant and dump in South- 
west Harbor (Figs. 1-25 & 1-26). 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issues: Many views, some of which were historically 
maintained, have been lost due to vegetation growth. 
However, identifying historic views is difficult, and 
maintaining them requires the cutting of vegetation 
off-trail, not currently an approved practice. 

Treatment Guidelines: Current research indicates 
the number of identifiable historic views associated 
with the trail system is minimal. Possible historic views 

should be verified through one or more of the follow- 
ing methods: 

1. Search written records, such as a reference in a 
guidebook, or personal accounts from the historic 

2. Locate built structures that may indicate a view 
spot, such as historic benches, constructed wide 
areas in the trail, or constructed overlooks (Emery 
Path, #15). 

3. Locate extant historic signs identifying overlooks. 

4. Examine historic photographs. 

Once an historic view is identified, a decision must be 
made whether or not to restore the view by clearing 
vegetation if it has become overgrown. The Hiking 
Trails Management Plan allows for the cutting of some 
vegetation in order to maintain historic views or vistas. 
Resource management staff should evaluate the impact 
of vegetation removal and will participate in the deci- 
sion to reestablish and maintain an historic view. 


Chapter 1: Route; B. Views 

Fig. 1-26 View from the Bear Brook Trail (#10) with The Jackson Laboratory dominating the viewshed in 1999. 



Resource management staff and, where appropriate, 
the park arborist, will be consulted for specifications 
on how vegetation is to be treated and managed in 
order to establish and/or maintain a view (see 
Chapter 2). 


Once a viewshed has been reestablished through 
vegetation removal, it should be monitored on a yearly 
basis for vegetation regrowth. A cyclic schedule of 
vegetation pruning and/or removal should be devel- 
oped to ensure the view continues to be maintained 
(see Chapter 2). 

1 Guy B. Arthur, Civilian Conservation Corps Field Training: 
Construction of Trails (1937), 2. 

2 "Mission 66 for Acadia National Park," ca. 1956, Harpers Ferry, 
Box ACAD, B2. 

3 According to law, rehabilitated trails will be built to accom- 
modate persons with disabilities if practicable, and if such 
modifications do not significantly impact the historic or natural 
character of an area. In some cases, portions of trails designated 
to be ADA-accessible will need to be rerouted to avoid obstacles 
or achieve the proper grade. ADA-accessible trails, and trails 
rehabilitated to ADA standards, will be built according to cur- 
rent legislation. 

4 Hiking Trails Management Plan (United States Department of the 
Interior, National Park Service, 2002), 23. 

5 Bar Harbor VIA 1892 Annual Report. 

6 Seal Harbor VIS 1911 Annual Report. 




Fig. 2-1 This image of the Potholes Path (#342) shows two aspects of vegetation on Acadia's trails. First, vegetation groupings, like 
this stand of pitch pines, are an important characteristic of many of Acadia's trails. And second, there has been an increasing loss of 
summit vegetation on many of the trails, as shown here by the exposed ledgerock along the unmarked trail route. 




Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


Acadia's trails provide access to the diverse 
coastal, woodland, and alpine flora of Mount 
Desert Island. Appreciation without deg- 
radation of trailside vegetation is critical to resource 
protection (Fig. 2-1). 

The Champlain Society, formed in 1880, cultivated an 
appreciation of the island's flora. The village improve- 
ment societies perpetuated this tradition in the 1890s 
and early 1900s by publishing nature pamphlets, 
discouraging the removal of plants, and by establish- 
ing nature trails. During the 1930s, the CCC carried 
out extensive revegetation projects using native plants, 
grown from collected seeds in transplant nurseries. 
Through the NPS/Mission 66 program, nature trails 
and educational efforts emphasized an appreciation 
of the island's vegetation. These efforts are carried 
forth to the present by the park's botany and resource 
management program, which replants eroded areas, 
eradicates non-native invasive species, and protects 
rare species. Additionally, the interpretation division 
educates park visitors concerning the area's vegetation. 

Rehabilitation efforts on the trail system should work 
hand-in-hand with natural resource management 
to ensure that the longstanding association between 
trails and vegetation can remain mutually beneficial, 
providing opportunities to experience both resources 
without degrading either of them. 


Vegetation is defined as the total plant cover of an 
area, such as a forest, marsh, or meadow. In general, 
vegetation contributes to the character of the trail 
system at Acadia through the natural placement of 
individual specimens or plant communities. Although 
species type may have some influence on the trail 
aesthetic, through the unique visual character inherent 
with certain plants, it is overall effect of the presence or 
absence of vegetation along the trails that is the great- 
est contributor to trail character. 



For early European settlers, the vegetation on Mount 
Desert Island represented a commodity. Lumber mills 
occupied most coves and, in combination with fishing 
and shipbuilding, helped sustain the island's resource- 
based economy. Yet by the late 1800s, the thriving 
tourism industry voiced their opinion for preservation 
of the natural woodlands. 

When the Champlain Society was formed in 1880, 
members actively inventoried and appreciated the 
island's native flora. The Society's stated purpose was 
the "study of the natural history of Mount Desert 
Island to complete lists of flora and fauna as far as 
possible." 7 Edward Rand, then a Harvard University 
undergraduate, served as the director of botanical 
studies. Later, in 1894, Rand used his botany notes to 
coauthor a text with John Redfield entitled Flora of 
Mount Desert Island, Maine. 

In his 1880 report for the Champlain Society, Rand 
wrote with great concern that summer residents were 
collecting many of the wild orchids and ferns for their 
properties. In 1900, when Rand became the first chair- 
man of the Seal Harbor Village Improvement Society 
Path Committee, he directed the construction of some 
new trails. Yet by 1903, he considered the system so 
extensive that no more trails were necessary "unless 
to meet some real need." 8 Rand's successors did not 
share his opinion. After Rand resigned as chairman in 
1907, many more miles of trails were constructed in 
the Seal Harbor path district. This dilemma of limited 
versus unlimited access to natural features and large 
contiguous habitats continues to the present day with 
the park's mandate to both protect resources and pro- 
vide visitor enjoyment. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Two of the first trails cut and marked by the Bar Har- 
bor VIA were the Royal Fern Path (#305) and Bracken 
Path (#307), reflecting the significance of vegetation 


Chapter 2: Vegetation 

Fig. 2-2 Early routes often passed groves of significant trees or 
individual specimens like this large hemlock on the Valley Trail 
(#28), 1999. 

Fig. 2-3 As shown in this 1930s photo of the Anemone Cave 
Trail (#369), the CCC practiced vegetation clearing of understory 
growth along many of their trails. 

to the organization. Trails were routed to take visitors 
past interesting vegetation, particularly groves of large 
trees, such as on the Gorge Path (#28), actively used 
since the 1870s, and the Hemlock Trail (#23), marked 
by the Bar Harbor VIA in 1895 (Fig. 2-2). While there 
were several botanists who summered on the island, 
the 1915 and 1928 path guides contain very little 
information on notable plants, perhaps to prevent the 
harvesting or damage of the island's unique specimens. 
Other publications offered such information, however, 
such as The Future of Mount Desert Island prepared by 
Charles Eliot, which contained a map of notable plants 
and plant communities. 

In 1929 the Seal Harbor VIS constructed the island's 
first self-guided trail, the Jordan Pond Nature Trail 
(#463), consisting of over seventy labeled native plants 
along a marked trail. The trail began at the Jordan 
Pond House and extended west over Jordan Stream, 
then south to the Asticou Trail (#49). 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

Forest stand "improvement," fire hazard reduc- 
tion, and revegetation were a part of most CCC trail 
projects. To "improve" existing trails, stands of trees 
were thinned and pruned to open up views into the 
woods, nearby ponds, or distant valleys. This practice 
of woods cleaning involved removal of enormous 
amounts of understory vegetation, dead limbs, and 
ground logs (Fig. 2-3). To reduce fire hazards, most 
of the wood was burned in brush piles. While these 
forest management practices were deemed positive at 
the time, they were later viewed as highly disruptive to 
the landscape ecology of the area. It is also ironic that 
within ten years, the 1947 fire burned nearly a third of 
the forests on the eastern half of the island. 

A separate CCC program involved the collection of 
native seeds and seedlings, which were planted or 
transplanted in three nurseries established near Kebo 
Mountain, Little Meadow Hill, and McFarland Hill. 



Fig. 2-4 Trail on Cadillac Mountain in the 1930s before CCC 
seedling revegetation. 

Fig. 2-5 The same trail as Fig. 2-4 on Cadillac Mountain in the 
1930s after CCC revegetation and some vegetation growth. 

Plants were then used to revegetate old road scars and 
abandoned quarries. Vegetation was also planted along 
new roads and trails. The CCC also covered recently 
constructed steps with moss and ferns to harmonize 
the new work with the surrounding landscape (Figs. 
2-4 to 2-6). 

NPS/Mission 66 

With an emphasis on expanded visitor facilities during 
the Mission 66 era, there was less focus on large-scale 
vegetation clearing or planting than there had been 
during earlier periods. One exception was the eastern 
side of the island where the landscape was still recov- 
ering from the 1947 fire. Workers cut down thousands 
of scorched trees and left them lying on all the ledges 
of the burned area. These stumps and logs are still 
noticeable today. During the same period, the western 
side of the island was seldom visited and received little 
vegetative work. However, on the national level, the 

NPS implemented numerous programs to develop self- 
guided nature trails to educate visitors about local flora 
and fauna. At Acadia, the Ship Harbor Nature Trail 
(#127) was constructed as such a trail. 

National Park Service 

In the late 1990s, Acadia's resource management staff 
began to work closely with the trails program. The staff 
has assisted with revegetation projects and provided 
expertise for problem solving, plants to use, and suc- 
cessful planting methods. They perform site visits 
prior to project initiation to investigate whether rare 
or endangered species will be disturbed by trail work, 
monitor sites for invasive exotic species and treat as 
necessary, and remain available for consultation on 
future projects. At present, native plant species are 
grown in the park's in-house nursery and native seeds 
are provided for use along trails. 


Chapter 2: Vegetation 

One of the most significant vegetation issues faced 
by the NPS is the trampling and loss of vegetation in 
summit areas. The dramatic loss of trailside vegetation, 
particularly in ledge areas, can be observed by compar- 
ing old and recent photographs (Figs. 2-7 & 2-8), or by 
walking along one of the lichen-covered trails that is no 
longer marked and maintained, but within park bound- 
aries, such as the Potholes Path (#342) (see Fig. 2-1). 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

Lumbering was part of the island economy until tourism 
industry objected. Rare flowering plants were plundered 
by summer residents. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Paths were built through scenic woodlands, but specific 
plants were rarely mentioned in path guides. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

The CCC removed understory vegetation for views and 
fire management and planted native trees and shrubs 
grown in CCC nurseries. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

There was an emphasis on appreciation and education 
about vegetation on self-guided nature trails. 

NPS Period (1967-Present) 

The park emphasizes the elimination of non-natives and 
performs minimal cutting to clear trail corridors and view- 
sheds. Loss of summit vegetation is a major concern. 


1. Rare and Endangered Species 

Issue: Many plant species within the park are consid- 
ered rare within the state of Maine, although currently 
none are so rare as to merit federal protection. Most of 
these rare plants are found in three ecological commu- 
nities that are considered sensitive to human distur- 
bance: mountain summits, seashores and islands, and 
wetlands. The proximity of many of the park's trails to 
sensitive ecosystems could lead to adverse impacts on 
protected species. 

Fig. 2-6 Photograph taken by the CCC in the 1930s showing how 
their crews planted mosses and ferns on these newly installed 
steps on the Perpendicular Trail (#119) to soften the new stone 
work and blend it with the surrounding landscape. 

m^ . U * 


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2 jt ■ '£> ,: 

Fig. 2-7 This circa-1916 image of the Beachcroft Path (#13) shows 
the variety of vegetation along the trail, especially the low- 
growing summit vegetation, and a well-defined trail route. 


■ ' ■ 

cjjw ' 



Eft*. - ■ 

Fig. 2-8 A 1999 photograph of the same section of the 
Beachcroft Path (#13) as Fig. 2-7 shows the dramatic loss of 
vegetation, particularly the summit vegetation impacted by the 
1947 fire and widening trail corridor. 


Acadia trails Treatment Plan 

Treatment Guidelines: As stated in the HikingTrails 
Management Plan, "Preventing disturbance to park 
plants and animals, especially rare species and habitats, 
will be a major consideration in trail rehabilitation, 
maintenance, and use." 9 

3. Trailside Revegetation 

Issue: Revegetation is often needed for disturbed sites 
after trail rehabilitation. However, there is a chance 
non-native species may also be introduced to the dis- 
turbed area through imported construction materials. 

Vegetation should be monitored regularly to deter- 
mine the presence of rare or endangered vegetation 
on or near the trail system. If rare or endangered 
vegetation is found, trail closures and/or reroutes may 
be required to protect the remaining vegetation. Any 
decision in this regard should be made in cooperation 
between the park natural and cultural resource staff 
and will follow the guidelines established in the Hiking 
Trails Management Plan concerning the protection of 
rare species and habitats. 

2. Trailside Vegetation Clearing 

Issue: Periodic vegetation clearing along trails is 
needed to maintain the trail corridor and keep impor- 
tant viewsheds clear. However, trail corridors have 
often been cleared too wide in the past to maximize 
length of the clearing cycle. When areas are not cut 
often enough, growth is such that major clearing 
efforts are needed. 

Treatment Guidelines: The Hiking Trails Management 
Plan provides general guidelines for trail clearing and 
for the rehabilitation of vistas, including limiting the 
width of clearing, addressing summit vegetation, and 
monitoring for exotic species. 10 Most trails will be 
cleared in a manner that matches historic standards. 
However, vegetation on trails built by the CCC would 
not be cleared as extensively as was done historically. 
Generally, trails should be cleared on a three-to- 
five-year cycle to provide an adequate corridor and a 
high-quality visitor experience. However, they should 
be cleared more often if necessary, on a schedule that 
encourages light pruning rather than heavy cutting 
efforts. Vistas will be researched and documented, 
and the cumulative effects of clearing will be consid- 
ered before opening or maintaining vistas. Volunteers 
and new park service employees responsible for trail 
clearing will be provided hands-on training in proper 
clearing methods before undertaking trail clearing. 

Treatment Guidelines: Revegetation of disturbed sites 
will occur. If possible, imported soil and gravel would 
be treated to prevent introduction of non-native plants 
through seed. Sites will be monitored for exotic spe- 
cies, and treated using an integrated pest management 


1. Corridor Height 

Trail corridors will be cleared high enough for a hiker 
to walk through without touching overhanging limbs 
and brush, approximately 8 feet above grade. Allow- 
ance must be made for brush and limbs weighted down 
with rain or snow, and for the increased height of a 
snow-covered tread. 

2. Corridor Width 

The width of the corridor will vary with terrain and 
vegetation type, and will be highly affected by visitor 
use. "Front country" trails such as the Ocean Path (#3) 
or Gorham Mountain Trail (#4) that are traveled by 
many visitors who are often unaccustomed to hiking, 
should be cleared wider than trails less easily accessed, 
such as the Great Notch Trail (#122) or Grandgent 
Trail (#66). Some trails, such as the Jordan Pond Path 
(#39) along the east shore, shall be cleared to the 
historical standard if it is known, in this case four feet 
wide. With no exceptions will trails be cleared in such 
a manner as to encourage further erosion caused by 
trail widening or braiding. 

Generally, a V-shaped trail corridor is desirable. Cut- 
ting the trail at ankle height to no more than 18 inches 
wide, and at shoulder height to approximately 3 to 3 Yi 
feet wide, gives the corridor this narrow V shape. This 
allows hikers ample room, while channeling hikers and 
limiting trail widening. 


Chapter 2: vegetation 

3. Cutting 

All workers should be trained in proper pruning 
techniques. Low shrubs and small trees will be cut 
flush to the ground for aesthetic and safety reasons. 
Stumps will be cut squarely, leaving no pointed edges. 
If tree tops or lateral branches need to be removed, the 
situation should be carefully evaluated, as removal of 
the whole tree may be the preferred option. The use 
of proper pruning techniques will avoid leaving stubs 
or sharp points on pruned trees and/or limbs, ensur- 
ing tree health and hiker safety. All branches and cut 
debris will be removed from the trail and scattered 
completely out of view of hikers. Brush should not be 
left in unsightly piles. 


All trails will be monitored yearly for clearing. As men- 
tioned above, individual trails and trail sections will 
be cleared as needed, and all trails will be cleared on a 
cyclical basis, approximately every three to five years. 
Ongoing training should be provided for all new work- 
ers in corridor clearing, vegetation pruning, and debris 
removal techniques. 


7 Edward L. Rand, First Annual Report of the Champlain Society 

8 Seal Harbor VIS 1903 Annual Report. 

9 Hiking Trails Management Plan, 23. 

10 Hiking Trails Management Plan, 24. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


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Fig. 3-1 This circa-1916 photograph of a bench cut on the Beachcroft Path (#13) illustrates how the treadway enhances the overall trail 
character. Near the trailhead, the trail is highly crafted with almost continuous stone pavement along its sidehill route. 
As it approaches Huguenot Head and winds through a grove of trees, the character changes to a woodland walk, emphasized by a 
treadway surfaced with pine needles and other organic material. 









Acadia Trails Treatment plan 


On Acadia's trails, as with other hiking trails, 
construction of the actual treadway is central 
to the trail's durability and longevity in the 
landscape. A well-constructed tread also improves 
accessibility and ease of walking, while the aesthetics 
of the treadway, whether gravel, stone pavement, or 
unaltered soil, influence how the overall character of 
the trail is perceived by the trail user. 



A bench cut is a cross-slope treadway constructed by 
removing material from the slope to create a flattened 

This chapter discusses five types of tread construction 
methods and materials that have been historically used 
at Acadia: 

A. Bench Cuts 

B. Causeway 

C. Gravel Tread 

D. Stone Pavement 

E. Unconstructed Tread 

Providing a solid, obstacle-free tread has been an 
integral part of Acadia trail construction since the 
formation of the VIA/VIS groups in the 1890s, when 
well-dressed society men and women were using the 
trail system to access the natural environment (Fig. 3- 
1). The high level of construction was perpetuated into 
the 1930s when the CCC adhered to rigorous stan- 
dards for the careful preparation of trail subgrade and 
tread. Many trails that have withstood one hundred 
years of use still retain evidence of early tread work. 
Others, particularly where drainage is a problem, are 
in poor condition and have extensive erosion, loss of 
tread material, trail widening, and exposed roots. This 
section offers guidelines on the appropriate tread con- 
struction methods and materials needed to rehabilitate 
and maintain trails and prevent further degradation of 
the trail system. 

A bench cut may be a full bench, a half bench, or a 
three-quarter bench (Fig. 3-2). These terms refer to 
how much of the treadway is placed in the cut area 
and how much of it is placed in the fill area on the 
downslope side of the trail. A full bench consists of 
the trail corridor fully placed in the cut area, while a 
three-quarter bench has three-quarters of the tread 
in the cut, and a half bench has half of the tread in 
the cut and half in the fill. Cut and fill areas are graded 
to the angle of repose or internal friction of a stable 
slope according to the composition of the material. In 
Acadia, since natural slopes were altered so long ago, 
it is often difficult to tell which kind of bench was used 
on historic trails. 

I & 

Angle of repose 

Full bench 


Half bench 

Fig. 3-2 Detail of types of bench cuts. 


Chapter 3: Treadway; A. Bench Cuts 

A bench cut may have other features associated with it, 
such as side drainage, cross drainage, or stone paving, 
a coping wall, or retaining walls on either the uphill, 
downhill, or both sides of the treadway. These features 
do not define types of benches, but they should be 
referenced separately when used in association with 
benches, and built or maintained according to the 
principles of their own construction. 

The use of bench cuts is closely related to choice of 
route. Bench cuts are usually an integral part of a route 
following the basic rules of route layout (see Chapter 
1)— cutting across rather than following the fall line, 
avoiding crossing the crests of ridges or the bottoms of 
gorges, and staying high or wide of wet areas. Ascend- 
ing trails built according to these rules will use bench 
cuts and switchbacks. On the other hand, many of Aca- 
dia's trails go straight up the slope toward the summit, 
or follow drainage paths and ridges, and do not usually 
use bench cuts. 

Bench cuts are a type of sidehill construction, but not 
all sidehill construction is defined as bench cut. Talus 
paving and pinned-log walkways are often sidehill 
benches but are not created by the removal of earth 
from a hill. Portions of woodland paths on which a 
trail has been trampled along the side of a hill do not 
usually leave a resultant "cut" in the earth substantial 
enough to be considered a constructed feature of any 
kind. Trail portions that follow natural benches, usu- 
ally along the bases of hills and cliffs or along stream 
banks, are also not considered bench cuts. 



Prior to the VIA/VIS path work, many trail routes took 
advantage of natural benches, but there is no evidence 
or documentation of any constructed bench cuts. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Most early VIA/VIS bench cuts were associated with 
trails which took a continuous cross-slope, neither 
gaining nor losing much grade. These trails include 

the Jordan Pond Carry (#38), the Pond Trail (#20), 
the Seaside Path (#401), and the Wild Gardens Path 
(#354). All of these trails use at least some sidewall, 
historic scree, and/or coping. Two Bates trails, the 
Eagle Crag Loop of the Cadillac Mountain South 
Ridge Trail (#27) and the Ladder Trail (#64), included 
constructed benches along climbing turns (not quite 
switchbacks), foreshadowing the trail construction to 
follow. Both of these trails were highly constructed 
and used retaining walls to support much of the 
benched treadway. 

The highly crafted memorial trails built under the 
direction of George Dorr in the Sieur de Monts Spring 
area introduced switchbacks to the system and associ- 
ated bench cuts. At this point, the delineation between 
bench cuts and talus pavement becomes confused, 
especially where benches have been paved with stones, 
and it is unclear how the bench was initially formed. 
Some bench cuts transition into and out of sections of 
talus pavement. 

Nearly all the bench cuts used on highly crafted trails 
are retained with coping or retaining wall and surfaced 
with either gravel or stone pavement. For example, 
much of the Gurnee Path (#352) consists of long 
sections of bench retained with stone walls on the 
downslope side (Fig. 3-3). On sections of this bench 
work, drainage structures such as side drains and cul- 
verts are a part of the bench construction. 

Fig. 3-3 This bench cut on the Gurnee Path (#352) is supported 
by stone retaining walls on the downslope side. 




Guard rai! orror.U wall to' fo IB' long 
and t*'K>2 high RocU wall may 
taper from ?' Hir^h flt f^rn to abou^ 
K)"at*ncl Topreven v cro» cutting 

ai v urns 

Grade should b« slacked fo idflc within 
6' of turn and *orn itae'f jho. d b« i«vei 
f af al' practicable 

Fig. 3-4 CCC details for laying out a series of switchbacks on a bench-cut trail. 

Fig. 3-5 A CCC bench cut with an outside retaining wall on the 
Valley Trail (#116). Note that the outslope is lost and the tread is 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

By design, a majority of the CCC mileage is sidehill 
construction, much of it consisting of bench cuts. The 
CCC introduced exacting standards for the construc- 
tion of switchbacks and bench cuts. They constructed 
most of their benches with outside retaining wall 
and/or coping stones and paved the resultant tread- 
way with gravel. The Perpendicular Trail (#119) and 
western half of Valley Trail (#116) are classic examples 
of this work. In addition, some sections of the Per- 
pendicular Trail (#119) and the Beech Mountain West 
Ridge Trail (#108) are bench cuts with side drains and 
culverts (Figs. 3-4 & 3-5). 

NPS/Mission 66 

Mission 66 bench cuts were designed similar to those 
of the CCC, though a standard trail width of 5 feet 
required a larger bench. Since Mission 66 trails were 
predominantly in easily accessible, high-use areas, the 
extent of bench cuts made during this era is less appar- 
ent. Of the few bench cuts that were constructed, most 
included outside retaining wall and were surfaced with 
gravel or asphalt (Fig. 3-6). 

National Park Service 

Since the 1960s, when deciding upon the locations of 
reroutes and new trails, sidehill routes needing bench 
cuts have rarely been chosen. Consequently, very few 


Chapter 3: Treadway; A. Bench Cuts 

' : ">!>kQ 

* l °'t 




- 5' ltt*l I ft»»t 

C k t 


Fig. 3-6 This Mission 66-era cross-section of a bench cut design for the western half of the Beech Mountain Loop Trail (#113) 
shows a slight pitch on the trail with a side drain included on the uphill side. 

sections of new bench cuts were created between the 
1960s and 1990s. For instance, when the southern end 
of the Gorge Path (#28) was rerouted in 1974, the NPS 
chose a direct route that ascended and descended hills 
rather than going cross-slope and using bench cuts, 
which would have been much more durable. 

While the associated features of old bench cuts, such 
as walls and side drains, have been sporadically main- 
tained since the 1970s, only since the beginning of the 
latest rehabilitation efforts in the late 1990s has main- 
taining the shape and integrity of bench cuts them- 
selves become a priority. As a result, many old bench 
cuts, such as on the Pond Trail (#20) and Valley Trail 
(#116), have eroded into gullies (Fig. 3-7). This situa- 
tion often creates an outside berm, preventing proper 
drainage and trapping water on the trail. 


The character of bench cuts used at Acadia has been rela- 
tively consistent throughout the historic periods. 

Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

No evidence or documentation of bench cut use has been 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Bench cuts were often used to traverse moderate side- 
slopes. On highly crafted trails, carefully constructed 
bench cuts were used in switchback routes. Bench cuts 
were associated with retaining walls, coping walls, steps, 
side drains, culverts, and gravel and stone paving. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

The CCC made extensive use of bench cuts in switch- 
backs and to traverse moderate to steep sidehills. Bench 
cuts were used with retaining walls, coping walls, steps, 
side drains, culverts, and gravel paving. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

A few bench cuts were used in short runs, usually with 
outside retaining wall. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

No new bench cuts were constructed. Maintenance of old 
bench cuts began in the 1990s 



Fig. 3-7 Eroded bench on Valley Trail (#116). 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: Adding bench cuts to some trails introduces a 
visible element of construction and may add a feature 
that is not historically compatible with the trail. 

Treatment Guidelines: Bench cuts, and their accom- 
panying features, are not historically appropriate for 
all trails and should not be overused. Bench cuts can 
be used on most VIA/VIS and CCC trails with a his- 
tory of constructed features. Bench cuts can also be 
sporadically used on less-constructed trails, provided 
the bench cut is carefully blended into the trail and 
the use of stone walls or other constructed features is 
minimized. For example, benches on woodland trails 
should be subtle, provide a narrow trail tread, contain 
no or few retaining walls, and use the excavated mate- 
rial from the cut side of the bench as the trail surface. 

2. Erosion 

Issue: Bench cuts that are not maintained become 
eroded gullies as the outside berm traps water on the 

Treatment Guidelines: If constructed and maintained 
properly, bench cuts are the least intrusive way of 
building a durable tread on sidehill trails. They are 
preferable to the scars caused by trails that follow the 
fall line and the gullying and erosion of sidehill trails 
that are not properly benched or outsloped. Main- 
tenance of bench cuts should be a priority, including 
establishing and maintaining the proper trail cross- 
slope and eliminating outside berms, to prevent trail 

3. Natural Resources 

Issue: Cutting roots to create bench cuts may endanger 
nearby trees and other vegetation. 

Treatment Guidelines: The damage caused by cutting 
roots to create bench cuts is generally outweighed by 
the benefits of having a clear, non-eroding treadway 
that, in the long run, allows for healthy tree growth in 
the area. However, not all roots should be cut in the 
construction and maintenance of bench cuts. Roots 
judged essential to important trees should be left in 
place, and the route of the trail or height of the bench 
surface should be adjusted to accommodate them. 


1 . Type of Bench 

A full bench is the most durable kind of bench cut and 
is the preferred type for use. As the slope of the hillside 
increases, the necessity of the trail tread being solid 
earth is greater, so that a half bench is acceptable on 
a 1:1 slope, a three-quarter bench on a 2:1 slope, and 
a full bench necessary on slopes of 3:1 or greater (Fig. 
3-8). When the proper kind of bench for the slope 
cannot be constructed, retaining wall must be built to 
hold the material added to the slope to complete the 
trail width. 


Chapter 3: Treadway; A. Bench Cuts 

2. Construction of Bench 

In the construction of a new bench, the route should 
be staked to delineate the two edges of the trail cor- 
ridor. Bench width should be in keeping with the rest 
of the trail. The width for woodland trails ranges from 
18 to 48 inches (Fig. 3-9). 

In a full bench, none of the excavated material is used 
as trail tread. The material is used elsewhere. In half 
and three-quarter benches, the appropriate amount of 
excavated stone and soil is placed on the downhill side 
so that it creates the proper slope and is tamped until 
firm. Existing organic material on the trail is stock- 
piled, then is tamped and planted along the trail's out- 
sloped edge. If no retaining wall is to be built, stones 
pulled from the hillside can be set along the outside of 
the new tread material in a random fashion for reten- 
tion of the infill. 

The bench tread should have an outslope of 1/2 inch 
per 1 foot. Where inside drainage is used, the trail may 
be crowned, outsloped, or insloped. 

To prevent erosion, the bank on the uphill and 
downhill side of the treadway should be sloped to its 
angle of repose. This angle will vary, depending on the 
surrounding slope and the soil type, but the maximum 
slope is 1:1. Also, the outside edge of the treadway 
should be rounded over, rather than left as a 
sharp corner (Figs. 3-10 & 3-11). 

3. Use of Retaining Wall 

Outside retaining wall, which retains the 
treadway, is generally needed in the following 

• when more fill material is used to widen 
a treadway than is appropriate for the 
slope, or 

• when soil is particularly loose and an 
angle of repose cannot be achieved 

Inside retaining wall, which retains the bank 
above the treadway, should be used when a 
sustainable angle of repose cannot be reached. 

Cut tlcpm . 



<"- Nttml tUt tkfm 



Fig. 3-8 CCC details for bench cuts illustrate the proper choice of 
bench type' — full bench for steep slopes as shown in Sketch No. 
1, and half or three-quarter bench for more gradual slopes as 
shown in Sketch No. 2. 

■ Suit lne»tinf top 4 tlafm 


tad Uocjtrof out 


Sukt JocttioM cut utd r™4* 



Fig. 3-9 CCC details for staking a bench cut. 






irate i 





1 ; 

Ml ' 

Vuintl ktMB-1 by fr*t 



Fig. 3-10 CCC detail of erosion on steep slopes. 


1. All bench cuts should be regularly regraded 
to maintain the outslope. Uphill material 
that has slumped into the treadway should 
be graded onto the treadway. 

2. Any berm along the outside of the trail edge 
should be removed. 

3. Collapsing banks on either side of the tread- 
way should be regraded at shallower angles 
or, if this is not possible, retained with the 
proper kind of retaining wall. 

4. All associated drainage, walls, and other 
structures should be maintained according 
to their specifications. 

HievM bo flotunod 

Sm No. 7 

Should it roundod 



Poorty finiihtd shpt 

Pnpor shpo 



Ljr, Pro for nunding 



Fig. 3-1 1 CCC details for the correct way to finish the slopes 
adjacent to a bench cut. 


Chapter 3: Treadway; B. Causeway 



A causeway is a constructed earthen treadway raised 
above the level of the surrounding area. A causeway 
is commonly used to provide a durable, dry tread 
through a wet, swampy, or meadow area. A causeway 
is often referred to as "raised tread." Causeways are 
usually constructed in conjunction with cross-drainage 
features like culverts, subgrade drainage, or subsurface 
drains to facilitate water movement across the trail. 
Without drainage, a causeway can be an obstacle to the 
flow of water through the landscape and may perma- 
nently alter the landscape and local habitats. 

A walled causeway is a raised gravel or soil treadway 
supported on both sides with retaining walls. This 
feature has been also called a turnpike. Single-tier 
retaining walls on the sides of walled causeways are 
called sidewalls (Fig. 3-12). Sidewalls may be set "toast" 
style — upright and on end, "cake" style — flat, or 
"header" style — sloping towards the center of the trail. 

A wall-less causeway is a raised gravel or soil tread- 
way, which is constructed without retaining walls. In 
a wall-less causeway, the subgrade edge sloped to its 
angle of repose serves the retaining function. The edge 
is often covered with soil and vegetation (Fig. 3-13). 

A stone causeway is constructed primarily of stones 
and has an stone pavement, rather than graveled-over, 
surface (Fig. 3-14). 

Log turnpiking is a causeway that consists of a series 
of gravel-filled log cribs laid continuously. Log turn- 
piking is not a historical feature at Acadia and is not 
a recommended treatment option for the Acadia trail 
system (Figs. 3-15 & 3-16). 

Fig. 3-12 Historic walled causeway on the Birch Brook Trail 

Fig. 3-13 The Jesup Path (#14), shown in circa 1916, was 
originally constructed with long sections of wall-less causeway. 

Fig. 3-14 A stone causeway at the Jordan Pond Inlet on the 
Jordan Pond Path (#39). 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

Fig. 3-15 Prior to rehabilitation, the Jordan Pond Path (#39) 
contained many sections of log turnpiking. Fig. 3-16 shows this 
same segment with the addition of new walled causeway. 

Fig. 3-16 Recently rehabilitated walled causeway on the Jordan 
Pond Path (#39) in section formerly treated with log turnpiking. 

Fig. 3-17 This walled causeway on the Asticou Trail (#49) 
is still extant and in relatively good condition over one 
hundred years later. 



Prior to the VIA/VIS path work there is no history 
of causeways in the Mount Desert Island (MDI) trail 
system. However, a number of raised roadbeds existed 
on the island, which may have served as models for the 
builders of causeways. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Beginning in the 1890s, VIA/VIS constructed trails 
with a stone rubble base and crowned gravel surface, 
creating the earliest versions of causeways at Acadia. 
This method was used for nearly all the "broad paths," 
including George Dorr's Bicycle Path (#331), the Red 
Path (Schooner Head Road Path, #362), and the Asti- 
cou Trail (#49) (Figs. 3-17 & 3-18). These trails aimed 
to provide an easy walking surface on long, direct 
routes, which naturally took them through much of the 
island's wet and boggy areas. The relatively flat routes 
allowed for the construction of walled and wall-less 

The VIA/VIS used both walled and wall-less causeway, 
and combined them on several trails. This indicates 
that there was no single approach to the construction 
of causeway, even under the direction of a particular 


Chapter 3: Treadway; B. Causeway 

A typical VIA/VIS causeway is 3 to 4 feet wide, has a 
consistent height of 6 to 12 inches from surrounding 
grade, and is laid in straight or evenly curving routes. 
Most are lined at least partially with coping stones and 
incorporate either graveled-over stone culverts, such 
as on the Schooner Head Road Path (#362), or open 
stone culverts like on the Jordan Pond Path (#39). 
Frequent "borrow" pits, still visible along their routes, 
demonstrate the massive quantity of material needed 
for the construction of causeways. Historic photo- 
graphs of the Jordan Pond Path (#39) attest to the high 
level of craftsmanship these trails achieved, providing 
an even, uniformly wide surface of gravel over a con- 
structed treadway. 

Several historic stone causeways are extant in the trail 
system, including a stream crossing on the Jordan 
Pond Carry Spur (#40) likely built in the 1960s and a 
small bit of raised stone paving on the Asticou Trail 
(#49). The most substantial stone causeway in the 
system originated in about 1896, when the Bar Harbor 
VIA placed stepping stones across an inlet on the east 
side of Jordan Pond where the water is 2 to 4 feet deep. 

Fig. 3-18 Schooner Head Road Path (#362), shown here in circa 
1916, also used wall-less causeway to traverse wet areas on the 
trail route. 

Fig. 3-19 An early photograph of the Jordan Pond stone causeway, circa 1920. Note the small rocks, narrowness, and 
unevenness of the causeway, which would not well accommodate today's number of users. 


Acadia trails treatment Plan 

Fig. 3-20 Circa- 1934 photograph of a hiking party on Jordan Pond stone causeway that shows the popularity of the area. 
Refer to Fig. 3-14 for a 1997 view of the causeway after NPS reconstructed and widened it. 

Improvements in the 1920s and 1930s by the VIA/VIS 
path committees and the CCC altered the character to 
that of a causeway, with a piled channel of stones and 
flat stones laid across its top. By 1984, this causeway 
had deteriorated and was reconstructed by NPS crews 
(Figs. 3-19 & 3-20). The reconstruction incorporated 
larger, squarer stones than were originally used in the 
causeway, resulting in a wider and flatter tread than 
previously existed. 

Some VIA/VIS trails built in the 1910s took direct 
routes through large wetlands, notably in the Sieur de 
Monts area. The Jesup Path (#14) and Stratheden Path 
(#24) both contain thousands of linear feet of wall-less 
causeway directly through the Great Meadow and to 
The Tarn that are still extant. Considering the size and 
consistency of this wetland, these two paths must have 

required an unprecedented amount of material for 
their construction. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

Like the VIA/VIS, the CCC moved extensive amounts 
of material to construct causeway trails in low-lying 
areas, including the Great Meadow Nature Trail 
(#365) and Long Pond Trail (#118). However, in other 
locations layout and design of CCC trails placed most 
routes in sidehill locations, avoiding low walks through 
boggy areas and only using causeway construction if 
truly needed. For instance, the majority of the Ocean 
Path (#3) is a walled bench sidehill construction, but 
in the few areas where it crosses lower, wetter ground, 
the CCC relied on wall-less causeway to keep the trail 
above the surrounding wet grade (Figs. 3-21 to 3-23). 


Chapter 3: Treadway; B. Causeway 

Also, some of the lower portions of the CCC trails' 
steep ascents contain causeway. For instance, the 
section of the Beech Mountain West Ridge Trail 
(#108) built by the CCC contains a 1,500-foot stretch 
of causeway, most of it walled on both sides with 
graveled-over stone culverts. The Long Pond Trail 
(#118), mostly walled bench, contains hundreds of feet 
of walled and wall-less causeway on its boggy northern 
end, part of which has been rerouted and replaced 
with bogwalk. 

CCC causeway is nearly identical to VIA/VIS cause- 
way, with a continued preference for a 4-foot width. 
Apparently following the model of the early VIA/VIS 
builders, CCC crews opted for graveled-over stone 
culverts on nearly all their sections of causeway. 

NPS/Mission 66 

While Mission 66 crews did a great deal of gravel sur- 
facing, they built little causeway. It appears that only 
two short sections of wall-less causeway were built — 
portions of the Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127) and 
the Anemone Cave Trail (#369). Both trails use steel 
pipe culverts, and the Anemone Cave Trail is surfaced 
with asphalt. Since the Mission 66 standard trail width 
was 5 feet, these causeways are wider than any of the 

National Park Service 

Between the CCC era and the late 1990s, very little 
causeway was built or repaired. During this period, 
a single causeway was completed by NPS crews in 
the early 1980s on a new trail connecting the Jor- 
dan Pond House to its overflow parking area. Gary 
Stellpflug remembers the construction as being "just 
mounded dirt" with no stone rubble subgrade, though 
this section of trail is still in good shape today. Also, 
as previously mentioned, the stone causeway near 
the southern end of the Jordan Pond Path (#39) was 
reconstructed in 1984 with modifications to stone size 
and overall width. Additionally, a new stone causeway 
was added to the Long Pond Trail (#118), near the 
southern end. However, this feature is out of character 
with this trail and should be removed (Fig. 3-24). 

1 f .. 



\tM m 


Fig. 3-21 CCC-constructed causeway on the Great Meadow 
Nature Trail (#365), shown in 1930s. 

Fig. 3-22 CCC-constructed causeway on the Great/Long Pond 
Trail (#118), shown in 1930s. 

I , , t JKM 

Fig. 3-23 CCC-constructed causeway on the Ocean Path (#3), 
shown in the 1930s. 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

Fig. 3-24 This stone causeway on the Great/Long Pond Trail 
(#118) was constructed in 1993 by the NPS; however, it is out 
of character for this trail and should be replaced with walled or 
wall-less causeway. 

Fig. 3-25 Header-style coping stones on the Jordan Pond Path 
(#39). The mason's line indicates the anticipated fill level for the 
final tread surface. 

Maintenance techniques for repairing eroded, col- 
lapsed, sunken, or flooded causeway centered on 
the addition of contemporary features, rather than 
reconstructing the original treadway. Stone boxes, 
log turnpiking, and bogwalks were built in many of 
these areas, while others were not repaired at all. For 
instance, the Long Pond Trail (#118) was repaired by 
building bogwalks over the top of a portion of flooded 
walled causeway; log turnpiking was introduced to the 
east side of the Jordan Pond Path (#39) and replaced 
eroded wall-less causeway on the Ocean Path (#3); 
and over 1,000 feet of sunken wall-less causeway on 
the Jesup Path (#14) was repaired with bogwalks. 
Additionally, old gravel pits used in the construction 
of causeways were reopened occasionally to obtain the 
material used for filling log cribs or turnpiking. 

In 1998, in an effort to restore a completely obliterated 
trail, NPS crews began building walled causeway on 
the east side of the Jordan Pond Path (#39). During 
the first year of rehabilitation, crews imitated the style 
of walled causeway on the Asticou Trail (#49). Stones 
were laid in a single tier along the outside of the tread- 
way, often "toast" style (set standing up). The stones 
were partially buried with the exposed side retaining 
the gravel tread. After a season, it was found that this 
works for large stones, stones set "cake" style (lying 
down), and those with more than half their height dug 
into the ground, but much of the other work began 
loosening, and some of it collapsed. On the advice of 
Dave Kari, an Acadia crew member who had built a 
number of walled causeways in Yosemite National 
Park, the style was altered slightly. Stones were laid 
"header" style (set vertically) , sloping in toward the 
center of the trail, with the length of the stone set into 
the trail and most of their volume buried by the trail 
surfacing (see "Specifications for Causeways"). In 
fact, the sidewall on the Schooner Head Road Path 
(#362) was later found to have been constructed in a 
like manner, with square paving blocks sloping in. The 
new Jordan Pond look is similar to extant sections of 
the old trail, with the occasional difference that some 
stones are less exposed. The old look was restored in 
large part by the use of a number of coping stones set 
completely outside the treadway (Fig. 3-25). 


Chapter 3: Treadway; B. Causeway 

NPS crews have also recently rehabilitated wall-less 
causeway on the Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127) and 
Jordan Pond Path (#39), and they have constructed 
new wall-less causeway on the Great Meadow Loop 
(#70). The use of jute mat to hold soil and vegetation 
on the sides of the causeway has made construction of 
this feature easier and more durable (Fig. 3-26). 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: Causeways may not be appropriate for use on all 
historic trails. Although the VIA/VIS and CCC relied 
heavily on them, the addition of causeways to paths 
with little construction alters the trail's character by 
widening the trail corridor. A wider corridor may not 
be historically compatible with the trail and may result 
in the loss of trailside vegetation or the relocation of 
other natural features. 

Fig. 3-26 Wall-less causeway before gravel surfacing on the 
Jordan Pond Path (#39) in 2002. The sides are angled and 
revegetated to the grade line. Note the insloping culvert lintels 
between first and second grade stakes. 

Treatment Guidelines: Extant causeways that are his- 
torically appropriate should be rehabilitated, repaired 
in kind, and extended as necessary. However, all work 
should be reviewed and approved by Acadia resource 
management staff (see #2, below). If the trail already 


Causeways have not changed much in character from 
their historic usage to the present. Minor alterations, 
such as the width increase during the Mission 66 era, may 
alter the character of individual trails slightly, but, overall, 
the character of causeways throughout the system has 
remained consistent. 

Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

Roads were built with causeways; however, there is no 
evidence or documentation of causeway use on the earli- 
est MDI trails. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Extensive use of walled and wall-less causeway for long 
sections of gravel-surfaced paths in low or wet, flat areas. 
The prevailing width for causeways was 3 to 4 feet. Cause- 
ways incorporated subgrade drainage, pipe, open stone, 
graveled-over, and log culverts as drainage. Pits were used 
for quarrying material for causeways. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Bench construction was preferred where layout would 
allow, but walled and wall-less causeways were used on 
several lengthy runs of trail through low, flat, and boggy 
areas. Causeway width remained at 4 feet, and graveled- 
over bridges, pipe culverts, and subgrade drainage were 
used. There was a continued use of pits for material. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Causeways were rarely used. The few that were built 
averaged 5 feet wide, were surfaced with gravel or asphalt, 
used steel pipe culverts for drainage, and relied on 
imported material for construction. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

There was little or no repair to existing causeways until 
the late 1990s. At this time, causeways were reintroduced 
or rehabilitated on appropriate historic trails and used in 
some new locations. Standards for construction followed 
the appropriate historical standards of those above, with a 
slight modification of stone placement on the sidewalls. 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

possesses a significant number of constructed features, 
a causeway should be the first choice for VIA/VIS 
and CCC trail sections needing to cross wet or boggy 
areas. Causeways should not be added to trails with a 
historically unconstructed, woodland character, and 
a narrow trail corridor, as other crossing features are 
more appropriate choices. Walled causeway should be 
used when it is important to maintain a narrow tread 
or when the walls are considered necessary to deter 
hikers from stepping off the trail, otherwise wall-less 
causeway should be used. The few stone causeways in 
the system should be rehabilitated as needed, but no 
new ones should be added. 

2. Natural Resources and Drainage 

Issue: Causeways can act as dams, disrupting the hy- 
drology of the wetland by altering the natural motion 
of water and, perhaps, changing the overall ecosystem. 
The construction or rehabilitation of causeways is 
thought to pose risks to fragile wetland habitat in some 

Treatment Guidelines: Plans for rehabilitation, 
additions, or new causeway construction should be 
reviewed by Acadia resource management staff for 
approval. All work in currently identified wetlands, 
or potential wetlands, should satisfy state and fed- 
eral law and adhere to NPS policy. Work in areas not 
designated as wetlands should be subject to in-park 
approval. Minor rehabilitation to extant causeway, 
where such work neither disturbs the surrounding 
area, nor causes additional blockage to the movement 
of water, may be accomplished without such approval 
at the discretion of park management. Priority should 
be given to maintaining the proper amount of water 
flow through a causeway. If there is a need for addi- 
tional water flow, the appropriate historic drainage 
feature(s) like culverts and side drains should be 
used in conjunction with the causeway to achieve the 
desired rate of flow. If more water flow is required 
than can be achieved through the addition of drain- 
age features, then sections of stepping stones, bridges, 
or bogwalk should be constructed between sections 
of causeway. If a causeway is disallowed altogether, 
appropriate crossing features should be used for the 

entire length of the affected area. Bogwalk may be 
considered if all other crossing features are deemed 
inappropriate. A trail reroute may also be considered. 

3. Sidewall Durability 

Issue: Many historic stones set along the outside wall 
of a causeway are vulnerable and may require frequent 
work to maintain the causeway's integrity. This is espe- 
cially true for stones set toast-style. 

Treatment Guidelines: In general, header-style 
sidewalls (see Figs. 3-25, 3-27) should be the preferred 
construction technique for repair of causeways, allow- 
ing for a durable construction with stones of a manage- 
able size. However, when repairing or adding sections 
of causeway to trails where the extant historic style is 
substantially different visually from the header-style, 
compatibility with the original style is preferred while 
still maintaining the integrity of the new sidewall. 
Historic stones laid on the outside of the treadway 
that have collapsed should be reset or replaced with 
stones of sufficient size and of the correct shape so 
that a substantial portion of the stone is underground. 
The exposed portion of the stone should match extant 
work in stone size, color, and texture. New coping 
stones should be set completely outside the treadway 
at the trail edge with a frequency that matches the 
original trail (see Chapter 6 for coping stone specifica- 


Specifications are only provided for the construction 
of walled and wall-less causeways, as the introduc- 
tion of new stone causeways to the trail system is not a 
recommended treatment option. 

1. Walled Causeway (Fig. 3-27) 
Layout: A specific route should be chosen that allows 
for straight or gently curving trail and requires no 
dramatic changes in elevation. Sufficient room should 
be provided on either side of the causeway for the 
movement of water into the drainages or away from 
the trail. Stakes are set in pairs outlining both sides of 


Chapter 3: Treadway; B. Causeway 

Gravel is crowned 

subgrade to 2" 
below grade 

Rocks sloped in and 
largely covered by gravel 

Gaps on 



High contact 

Rocks 2" or more 
below ground 

Fig. 3-27 Detail of a walled causeway. 

the treadway. The corridor should be of appropriate 
width to accommodate foot traffic and conform to 
the standards of the trail. The line, which defines the 
height and width of the trail to the builders, is then 
attached to the stakes at the proper height above sur- 
rounding grade, gaining and losing elevation over the 
longest runs feasible. This height should be sufficient 
to accommodate anticipated drainage needs. Enough 
stakes should be used to maintain the shape of the 
curves; otherwise, finished wall will consist of discern- 
ible straight sections. During the building process, as 
a stake needs to be taken out in order to set stones, it 
should be replaced immediately with a stake not more 
than 2 feet away, so that the shape of the curve is not 

Excavation: All organic material should be removed 
from the trail corridor to a compacted base. Excavate 
wide enough to allow for the width of the treadway as 
well as the sidewalls. Wall stones and subgrade should 
be set in solid soil or on ledge. 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 

Sidewalls: Sidewall stones for single-tier walls can be 
surprisingly small if they are of the right shape to be 
set properly. Stones must be at least 3 inches taller, in 
the manner in which they are to be set, than the height 
of the causeway (i.e., a 1-foot-high causeway requires 
a sidewall stone of at least 15 inches height). Ideal wall 
stones are rectangular or triangular, with a "flare" at 
what will be the top outside edge of the stone, to ease 
contact with abutting stones. Round stones should be 
avoided, unless they can be sufficiently shaped to allow 
for high contact. Stones with protrusions or other 
minor problems that will prevent high contact can 
often be shaped with a hammer or other stone tool. 
Large stones can often be split in half with hand tools 
or a stone drill, leaving a flat top and sharp edges for 
contact points. 

All stones but the largest (those of at least two cubic 
feet in volume) will be set header-style, with the 
longest portion of the stone set into the trail, the next 
largest part set vertically, and the shortest dimension 
contributing to the length of the wall. This allows for 
the maximum amount of weight per length of trail, and 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

makes the wall much stronger. Stones are set so that 
their tops touch the line near the outside edge of each 
stone but do not move the line up or in; some portion 
of the stone should always remain outside the line. In 
order to achieve this, and to "cradle" tread material 
between them, stones are set so that their tops slope in 
toward the center of the trail. 

Sidewall stones must have contact with abutting stones 
at or above the height of the line. In some situations, 
a contact within 1 inch below the line is permissible. 
Once a point of high contact is achieved, contact else- 
where between abutting stones is not necessary, but 
gaps between them should be chinked. If more height 
is needed, the hole beneath the stone may be adjusted 
by adding crushed stone, but wall stones should never 
be set on crushed stone or shims that are exposed 
above the level of the surrounding ground or floor of 
side drainage, because these will slip out over time. 
When a row of sidewall stones has been set, remaining 
gaps between them should be packed with the largest 
stones possible. At this stage, wall stones should be 
sturdy enough to remain stable when hikers jump on 

Treadway: The core between the sidewalls should be 
filled with stone to within 3 inches of the line height. 
Larger stones should be set first, then smaller and 
smaller stones should be broken in place to pack the 
core, and depress the overall level of the stone base to 
its settling point in the ground. This is the "subgrade" 
and will provide both a solid base for the treadway and 
drainage for seepage to travel under the treadway. 

On historically graveled treadway, new gravel will 
be crushed stone as specified under "Gravel Tread" 
below. If gravel is an addition to a relatively uncon- 
structed trail, it may be local bank-run gravel, or the 
specified manufactured gravel mixed with local gravel 
or soil. The gravel is laid over the crush base so that 
it meets the line at the outside edge, and is crowned 
1/2 inch per foot of width in the center of the cause- 
way after tamping (i.e., a 4-foot wide treadway will 
be crowned 2 inches). A vibrating tamper should be 
applied to the gravel surface to compact and harden 

the gravel. The finished surface should be smooth 
crown with no dips or dimples. Care should be taken 
not to apply too much gravel, as it will work its way 
over the edges of the walls, spilling onto the surround- 
ing ground or into drainage channels. 

Finished Dimensions: Finished walled causeway 
should be 6 to 7 feet wide, including walls, with a 
treadway width of 4 feet. A walled causeway should be 
at least 8 inches above surrounding grade at its edges 
and 10 inches above surrounding grade at the center of 
the tread. 

2. Wall-less Causeway (Fig. 3-28) 

Layout and Excavation: Wall-less causeway is laid out 
and excavated the same as walled causeway. However, 
the excavated area will be slightly wider, usually 6 to 
9 feet. Without sidewalls to support the causeway, the 
stone rubble base will need to taper underneath the 
string line outside the treadway to its natural angle of 
repose; no steeper than 1:1 for crushed granite. Larger 
stones may be set along the outside of the rubble base 
to help retain it. 

Berms: Two parallel berms are created by piling loam 
and soil along the outsides of the line, up to the height 
of the line, tapering to the ground at a 30 percent or 
shallower grade. Where possible, native sod or other 
vegetation should be planted in the soil. When sod 
is not available, loose soil can be held with jute mat, 
which will decompose as vegetation takes root in the 
soil and makes it "living wall." 

Treadway: The resultant channel, between the berms 
on either side of the trail, on top of the rubble base, 
is filled with gravel (as specified in "Gravel Surface" 
section), which meets the line at the outside edges, and 
rises to a crown of 2 to 3 inches higher than the center- 
line of the trail. 

Finished Dimensions: A finished wall-less causeway 
will be a total width of 6 to 10 feet to allow a finished 
tread width of 3 to 6 feet. The height of the crown of 
the causeway will be at least 12 inches above the sur- 
rounding grade. 


Chapter 3: treadway; B. Causeway 

Crushed rock subgrade is 
outsloped at 1:1 or shallower 

Soil and vegetation 
planted over crush 

Fig. 3-28 Detail of a wall-less causeway. 


1. All associated drainage features should be 
checked annually and kept open and clear. 

2. The cause of any lost gravel should be identi- 
fied and remedied. Low contacts or loose stones 
should be fixed, plugged drains cleaned, and 
drains that cannot handle their loads should be 
replaced with sufficiently sized structures. Lost 
gravel should be recovered and put back on the 
trail surface. 

3. Every year or more — depending on use, material 
used, and quality of construction — the crown 
should be reestablished by the addition of gravel, 
and any hollows that have developed in the tread- 
way should be filled. The rehabilitated surface 
should be tamped with a vibrating tamper. 

4. Vegetation growing in the treadway should be 
removed, and any organic material in the treadway 
should be replaced with gravel. 

5. Collapsed or eroded berms at the edges of wall- 
less causeways should be reestablished with the 
addition of new soil and/or vegetation. 

Crushed rock subgrade 
is anchored below 
organic level 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 



some bridges and culverts, and is often supported 
by checks, coping stones, and retaining walls. Gravel 
tread may also be used by itself, as the surface of an 
otherwise unconstructed treadway. 

Gravel tread is any treadway surfaced with gravel. 
Gravel is an inorganic material consisting primar- 
ily of stones smaller than % inch diameter. A surface 
aggregate of larger stone pieces is called crushed rock 
if it is crushed material, or pea stone if it consists of 
small, smooth pieces. The gravel used on Acadia's trails 
may be manufactured crushed material, or it may be 
bank-run — natural gravel made by streams or glaciers, 
quarried from streambeds (a practice no longer used at 
Acadia), from natural deposits, or from excavated pits. 

Unconstructed trails that pass through gravel beds, or 
have eroded to a gravel sub-surface are not considered 
to have constructed gravel tread and are not discussed 
in this section. 

Gravel tread is often installed in conjunction with 
other kinds of trail construction. It is a part of most 
causeway construction, much bench construction, 



Prior to 1890, all trail tread was unconstructed and 
constructed gravel tread was not used. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

In the VIA/VIS period, gravel tread was used exten- 
sively in the Bar Harbor and Seal Harbor districts, very 
little in Northeast Harbor, and not at all in Southwest 
Harbor. Nearly all highly crafted trails used gravel on 
all or portions of the treadway, and conversely, nearly 
all trails treated with gravel were highly crafted. Early 
in the period, the predominant use of gravel was on 
the smooth, graded or "broad" paths that used side- 
hill or lowland routes to travel between destinations. 
About half of these are in the Seal Harbor district, 
mostly radiating from the Jordan Pond House. Similar 

Fig. 3-29 The CCC usually installed rubble base under their gravel tread, work in progress in the 1930s. 


Chapter 3: Treadway; C. Gravel Tread 

Bar Harbor broad paths include the Schooner Head 
Road Path (#362), the Wild Gardens Path (#354), and 
possibly the White Path (#329). Later, smooth, graded 
trails treated with gravel included the Jesup Path 
(#14), the Stratheden Path (#24), and the Gurnee Path 
(#352). Segments of these trails were constructed with 
benches, causeways, or retaining walls, while other 
segments simply had organic material excavated and 
a gravel tread added. In the early 1900s on memorial 
trails, gravel was used to surface flat sections of climb- 
ing trails, often in short runs between stone steps. 

Gravel was natural and local, either bank-run or quar- 
ried gravel. Gravel pits are extant near many of the 
graded trails, often within 20 feet of the trail. These 
pits range from 3 or 4 feet in diameter, such as the 
smaller pits on the Jordan Pond Path (#39), to 20 or 
more feet long, such as a pit near the Schooner Head 
Road Path (#362) and Red Path (#328). Some trails, 
including as the Seal Harbor graded paths, have many 
pits near them, often within a hundred yards of each 

The large number and volume of borrow pits located 
near these trails attest to the volume of gravel tread 
used. Many gravel-surfaced trails required constant 
resurfacing because the proper trail construction 
and drainage were not in place to maintain the tread, 
or if drains were present, they were not adequately 
maintained. Subsequently, the surface has been lost 
completely from many trails and they currently con- 
tain many exposed roots, are often rutted, and/or are 
consistently muddy during wet periods. In other cases, 
drainage patterns were altered by road construction 
uphill of a trail, resulting in washouts in places where 
drainage features were not needed at the time of the 
trail's original construction. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

The CCC constructed miles of gravel tread. Opting for 
a continuous constructed surface, the CCC consis- 
tently applied gravel to any sections of trail that were 
not stone paved or stepped. The exceptions are the 
unconstructed portions of the Perpendicular Trail 
(#119), Long Pond Trail (#118), and Valley Cove sec- 
tion of the Flying Mountain Trail (#105), all of which 
appear to be unfinished segments and not part of the 

Fig. 3-30 Newly installed CCC gravel, photograph showing completed work in the 1930s. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

original trail's design. The CCC provided drainage, but 
again, it was insufficient and/or not maintained. While 
some CCC gravel tread has survived, most has washed 
away or been seriously eroded and has not been 
replaced. Gravel washouts have been extensive on the 
Long Pond Trail (#118), Beech Mountain South Pudge 
Trail (#109), and parts of the Ocean Path (#3). How- 
ever, as opposed to many VIA/VIS trails, much of the 
CCC work contains a rubble stone base. In many cases, 
this base is still extant and only needs resurfacing and 
the maintenance or addition of drainage structures or 
checks (Figs. 3-29 & 3-30). 

NPS/Mission 66 

Mission 66 surfaced all trails with either gravel tread 
or asphalt. Due to poor construction and relatively few 
drainage structures, most of the gravel on Mission 66 
trails has washed away. 

National Park Service 

In the NPS period, gravel tread was used sporadically 
as a technique for new construction, a method of reha- 
bilitating historic graveled paths, and a stop-gap for 
repairing washouts on trails where its use is inappro- 
priate. New construction using gravel tread include the 
Jordan Pond overflow parking lot trail in the 1970s and 
the Bass Harbor Head Light Trail (#129) in 1997 (Fig. 
3-31). Rehabilitation of gravel tread was completed on 
the Ocean Path (#3) and Jordan Pond Path (#39). Stop- 
gap repairs using gravel tread were done on historically 
unconstructed sections of the Bowl Trail (#8) in 1994, 
but most of it has since eroded due to inappropriate 

Fig. 3-31 New gravel tread was installed by the NPS on the 
rehabilitated Bass Harbor Head Light Trail (#129) in 1997. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

There is no evidence or documentation for the use of 
gravel paving. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Gravel paving was used extensively on the classic grav- 
eled, or "broad" paths that were relatively flat, destination 
oriented trails. It was also used in short runs on other 
highly constructed trails. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Gravel paving was the default mode of trail surfacing. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Gravel paving was the default mode of trail surfacing. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Gravel paving was used on a few short, highly used trails. 
Some historic trails were re-graveled with a non-local, 
engineered gravel. A few trails are inappropriately treated 
with gravel tread. 


Chapter 3: Treadway; C. Gravel Tread 


1. Gravel Color 

Issue: Historically, gravel was bank-run taken from 
nearby pits, and its color was the color of local stone 
surrounding the trail and used in its construction — 
ranging from gray to pink. However, the "carriage road 
mix" of gravel currently being used on trails is a manu- 
factured, basaltic, crushed gravel that is slightly bluish 
colored. This mix is different in appearance from 
surface stones in any part of the trail system, espe- 
cially pink granite. However, local pink granite is not 
available for use, and gravel manufactured of similarly 
colored granite is prohibitively expensive. Further, 
quarrying local bank-run gravel from pits is restricted 
in the park, and would not be practical. 

Treatment Guidelines: Due to the above limitations, 
and the large quantities of gravel required, gravel used 
to resurface trails with traditional gravel tread will be 
non-local, crushed material that meets the specifica- 
tions identified below. It is acceptable to continue 
using the carriage road mix now being used as the 
color problem should be ameliorated over time by 
weathering and local materials such as pine needles 
becoming mixed with the surface. However, the 
preferred option would be to develop a gravel mix 
specifically for the trail system. Mixes with different 
colors should be investigated for compatibility with 
the native stone. If local pink gravel cannot be exactly 
matched or readily obtained at a reasonable cost, a 
gray or brown mix should be considered as a reason- 
able alternative. 

2. Use of Gravel on Unconstructed Trails 

Issue: Gravel is a more durable and hiker-friendly 
surface than an unconstructed tread which may have 
small obstacles, be soft, and hold moisture. However, 
the use of gravel will alter the appearance and charac- 
ter of traditionally unconstructed tread. 

Treatment Guidelines: In the rehabilitation of uncon- 
structed trails, care should be taken to maintain the 
natural character of the treadway. The first choice for 
treadway material should be local gravel, preferably 

with some soil content, which has been produced in 
doing trail work, or small amounts taken from local 
pits. According to park guidelines, "up to four cubic 
yards of soil, gravel, or stone per 50 linear feet of trail 
may be removed from natural areas near work sites for 
trail rehabilitation." 11 However, if the amount of mate- 
rial needed exceeds these parameters, or if using local 
gravel is not feasible for other reasons, the imported 
gravel trail mix (or carriage road mix) may be used. If 
imported gravel will be used, it should be a thin coat 
mixed with local soil to blend it with the surrounding 
landscape and subdue the aesthetic appearance of a 
complete gravel tread. 

3. Maintaining Gravel Tread 

Issue: Gravel is a mobile material and will settle to 
the bottoms of slopes and often wash away if running 
water passes over it. Historically, not enough con- 
structed features, such as side drains or checks, were 
used to direct water flow and preserve gravel paving. 
Rehabilitating gravel tread to its original state without 
adding these features will often result in the quick loss 
of the gravel surface. 

Treatment Guidelines: If gravel tread is to be restored, 
trail construction should be sufficient to ensure that 
the tread will be sustainable. Any area where gravel has 
washed out is probably in need of better construction 
prior to gravel replacement. New features should be 
compatible with historic trail features, and uncon- 
structed trails should be treated with appropriate 
features as described elsewhere in the this document. 
In general, subgrade drainage and/or subsurface drains 
should be used in all but totally dry areas. Elevated 
gravel paving should be constructed according to the 
specifications for causeways. Gravel paving on slopes 
over 5 percent (or any slopes with drainage issues) 
should contain checks, high-contact walls, or soil 
berms (whichever is most appropriate). Benches with 
gravel tread and ditching or inside drains should be 
used as necessary and appropriate. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


1. Gravel Mix 

The following specifications were developed for the carriage road system. The mix contains 8 percent clay, which 
binds the mix for a durable walking surface. The specifications state that aggregate shall consist of hard, durable 
particles or fragments of crushed stone or gravel conforming to the following requirements and gradations: 

Los Angeles abrasion, ASTM C131 and C535 

50 percent max.* 

Fractured faces (one face) 

95 percent max.* 

Fractured faces (two faces) 

75 percent max.* 

Soundness loss, five cycles, ASTM C 88 (magnesium 

18 percent max.* 

Flat/elongated (length to width) >5 ASTM D4791 

15 percent max.* 

* Based on the portion retained on the 3/8-inch sieve. 

Materials shall be free from organic material and lumps or balls of clay. 

Material passing the No. 4 sieve shall consist of natural or crushed sand and fine mineral particles. The material, 
including any blended filler, shall have a plasticity index of not more than 6 and a liquid limit of not more than 25 
when tested in accordance with ASTM D4318. 

Aggregate shall contain a minimum of 5 percent clay particles but no more than 50 percent of that portion of mate- 
rial passing the No. 200 sieve size shall be clay. Inorganic clay to be used as binder shall conform to the following: 

Passing No. 200 

75 percent 

Liquid Limit 

30 min. 

Plastic Index 

8 min. 

The fraction of material passing the No. 200 sieve shall be determined by washing as indicated in ASTM D1140, 
"Amount of Material in Soils Finer Than the No. 200 Sieve." The fractured faces for the coarse aggregate portion 
(retained on the No. 4 sieve) shall have an area of each face equal to at least 75 percent of the smallest midsectional 
area of the piece. When two fractured faces are contiguous, the angle between the planes of fractures shall be at 
least 30 degrees to count as two fractured faces. Fractured faces shall be obtained by mechanical crushing. Grada- 
tion shall be obtained by crushing, screening, and blending processes as may be necessary. Material shall meet the 
following screen analysis requirements by weight. 

Sieve Designation 

Percent Passing 


100 percent 


90-100 percent 

No. 4 

55-70 percent 

No. 40 

20-30 percent 

No. 200 

12-16 percent 


Chapter 3: Treadway; C. Gravel Tread 

2. Excavation 

The ground should be excavated below the organic 
level, usually about 6 inches deep. Large roots should 
be left, and large stones that will not protrude above 
the gravel surface may be left. Sod or duff pieces 
should be saved and used along the edges of the gravel 
where a berm needs to be constructed. If the area is 
damp or seasonally wet, but not wet enough to warrant 
the construction of causeway, then the ground should 
be excavated to mineral soil, at least 1 foot deep, to 
better stabilize the trail, and to provide room for 
subgrade drainage, as described below. The shape of 
the trail should be appropriate to the trail's design, and 
the edge of the excavation should be the exact desired 
edge of the trail. 

3. Subgrade Drainage 

In areas in which any amount of water will need to pass 
through the trail corridor, or where the ground is soft, 
subgrade drainage and/or subsurface drains should be 
constructed. Crushed stone or imported blown ledge 
material, as described previously for walled cause- 
way, should be applied to the excavated treadway to a 
height of 2 inches below the level of the surrounding 
grade and tamped until stable. If seepage is moderate 
rather than light, perforated-pipe drains should be 

The gravel surface should be smooth, with no dips or 
lumps. The surface should be packed with a vibrating 
tamper, which should be passed over every part of the 
trail surface at least once, or until the surface becomes 


1. All associated drainage features must be checked 
and cleaned regularly, as gravel is particularly 
susceptible to washouts. If washout or excessive 
wear on slopes, is occurring, the reason should be 
identified, and the appropriate features (such as 
checks or dips) maintained or added. 

2. Proper slope, crown, and outslope should be 
maintained by reshaping or replacing old gravel, 
or by adding new gravel as needed. Where pos- 
sible, reshaped gravel paving should be tamped. 
The maintenance schedule for reshaping gravel 
will vary based on use, drainage factors, and the 
desired appearance of the trail, but a typical inter- 
val between reshaping is five to eight years. 

4. Applying, Shaping, and Tamping Gravel 

Gravel is applied to the trail surface. The outside edges 
of the gravel surface should be even with the sur- 
rounding grade, walls, or berm. If the tread is elevated, 
as in causeway, or if the surrounding ground is flat, the 
gravel should be crowned and sloped at 1 inch cross- 
slope per 1 foot of trail width. For example, a trail that 
is 4 feet wide and is crowned in the middle will have 2 
feet on either side of the crown and thus be 2 inches 
higher at the crown than at the edges. If the tread is 
to drain on only one side, such as in a bench or where 
there is an inside drain only, the tread should be sloped 
toward the drainage side of the trail (outsloped for a 
bench, or insloped for an inside drain) at % inch per 
foot of trail width. A trail that is 4 feet wide will be 
insloped or outsloped 3 inches. 





A causeway with a stone pavement surface is called a 
stone causeway and was discussed previously in Sec- 
tion B of this chapter. 

Stone pavement is a constructed, continuous stone 
treadway with individual stones, often called pavers, 
serving as the tread. Stone pavement used to traverse 
talus fields is called talus pavement. Stone pavement 
used to harden the surface of a soil treadway, typically 
on a woodland trail, is called tread pavement (Figs. 
3-32 & 3-33). 

Fig. 3-32 Talus pavement on the Champlain East Face Trail (#12). 

Fig. 3-33 Tread pavement at Sieur de Monts, circa 1916. 



Prior to the VIA/VIS, there is no physical evidence or 
documentation of stone pavement on the trail system. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

The early use of stone for tread is described by Wal- 
dron Bates in 1906 when workers under the supervi- 
sion of Andrew Liscomb were "putting large stones 
through wet places in the Witch Hole Path" (#313). 
Over the next ten years, the use of stone for tread 
increased dramatically for trails through wet places, 
especially rocky areas with heavy ice and seasonal 
water flow. 

From the 1890s through the turn of the century, the 
VIA/VIS laid talus pavement to improve the western 
side of the Eagle Lake Trail (#42), the western side of 
Jordan Pond Path (#39), the Jordan Bluffs Trail (#457), 
and the Beech Cliff Trail (#625). Like early VIA/VIS 
Bates-style steps (see Chapter 7), the stones used as 
pavers on these trails were small. The lay of uncut flat 
stones followed the existing landscape rather than 
rearranging it, and stone pavement occurred in spo- 
radic, often short, runs. 

During this same time period, stone tread pavement 
was also used on several other trails, with the Gorge 
Path (#28) and the Canon Brook Trail (#19) containing 
the most extensive examples. These trails were each 
endowed with maintenance funds years after their 
initial construction. Both were built by the Bar Harbor 
VIA at the turn of the century and improved in the 
1910s and 1920s. Each follows a streamside route and is 
highly crafted. They contain stone pavement of small, 
uncut stones in a single row, laid continuously between 
runs of staircases and stepping stones (Figs. 3-34 & 


Chapter 3: Treadway; D. Stone Pavement 

Nearly all the highly crafted trails built between 1913 
and 1937 that either gain elevation or cross talus 
slopes incorporate tread or talus pavement, and most 
trails contain examples of both. The memorial paths, 
constructed under the direction of George Dorr, used 
long sections of stone pavement. Beginning with the 
Kane Path (#17), constructed between 1913 and 1915, 
larger stones were commonly laid as pavers. The Schiff 
Path (#15) and Gurnee Path (#352), built in the 1920s, 
have sporadic sections of large, square pavers set 
into a dirt treadway, while the Beachcroft Path (#13), 
rebuilt in the 1920s, contains nearly a half-mile of 
continuous stone pavement, much of it narrower tread 
through wooded sections of trail (Figs. 3-36 to 3-38). 
On this trail, unpaved sections are the exceptions, and 
it should be noted that these unpaved sections have 
suffered the greatest amount of erosion damage. Why 
certain sections were left unpaved is still somewhat 
of a mystery, but in general it can be observed that 
inclined sections were paved, while relatively level sec- 
tions were left with a gravel tread. 

The talus pavement from circa 1910 through the 1920s 
is some of the most remarkable work the island. The 
wide, smooth, level walkways of Kurt Diederich's 
Climb (#16), constructed under the supervision of 
George Dorr, and the Orange and Black Path (#348— a 
section now called the Champlain Mountain East Face 
Trail, #12), built under Rudolph Brunnow's direc- 
tion, are two of the finest examples of stone pavement. 
Talus paved sections of these trails were constructed 
as scenic overlooks and impressive points of interest. 
Stones up to 30 square feet were used to construct 
a treadway between 6 and 10 feet wide, which was 
elevated 5 or more feet above the downhill side (Fig. 
3-39). The East Face "horseshoe" is a 115-foot-long 
section of talus pavement evenly tracing a 90-degree 
arc. A widened place in the pavement once provided a 
patio for a stone bench, but this feature was destroyed 
by a rock slide in the 1970s. 

During the 1920s, stone pavement continued to be 
used. On both the Andrew Murray Young Path (#25) 
and the Beachcroft Path (#13), new sections of stone 

Fig. 3-34 VIA tread pavement on the Gorge Path (#28). 

Fig. 3-35 VIA stone paving on the Eagle Lake Trail (#42). 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

Fig. 3-36 Tread pavement leading to a set of steps on the Emery Path (#15), circa 1920 

Fig. 3-37 Talus pavement on the Beachcroft Path (#13), 
circa 1920. 

Fig. 3-38 Tread pavement through a wooded section 
of the Beachcroft Path (#13). 

Fig. 3-39 This talus pavement on a section of Kurt Diederich's 
Climb (#16) is one of the fine examples of VIA/VIS stone 
pavement in the trail system. 


Chapter 3: Treadway; D. Stone Pavement 

pavement contained pavers held in place with iron pins 
(Fig. 3-40). The circa 1930 section of the Jordan Cliffs 
Trail (#48) is perhaps the last major specimen of VIA/ 
VIS stone pavement; its use of larger stones, retaining 
wall, and iron pins sets it apart from the earlier stone 
pavement on the Jordan Bluffs Trail (#457) (see Sec- 
tion 2, #48 Jordan Cliffs Trail). 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

Stone pavement was used very little during the CCC 
era as they generally preferred other methods of tread 
construction. One method was the use of retaining wall 
and gravel tread for crossing talus fields. As discussed 
earlier, examples of this can be seen on the Long Pond 
Trail (# 118) and the Perpendicular Trail (#119). The 
CCC also relied on the use of steps and switchbacks 
for ascending grades, as on the southern end of the 
Beech Mountain South Ridge Trail (#114). 

However, a few trails rehabilitated or constructed by 
the CCC did incorporate stone pavement. On the Per- 
pendicular Trail (#119), there is one 40-foot stretch of 
talus pavement. On the Ladder Trail (#64), hundreds 
of feet of Dorr-style tread pavement were rehabilitated 
or installed by the CCC (Figs. 3-41 & 3-42). Neither 
exception is surprising since Dorr directed CCC 
work on as park superintendent. Additionally, the 
CCC probably improved stone pavement in the major 
tumbledown on the west side of the Jordan Pond Path 
(#39). Records show they were working in this area, 
and blast marks and the use of larger, cut stones point 
toward the CCC rather than early VIS work. 

NPS/Mission 66 

There was no stone pavement built during the Mission 
66 era. Gravel and asphalt were the predominant tread 
material used at this time. 

Fig. 3-40 Pinned tread pavement on the Andrew Murray Young 
Path (#25). 

Fig. 3-41 CCC tread pavement at the trailhead for the Ladder 
Trail (#64) in the 1930s. 

Fig. 3-42 Stone pavement on the Perpendicular Trail (#119). 



Fig. 3-43 A historic view of the talus pavement on the Kane 
Path (#17), circa 1916. 

Fig. 3-44 A 1997 view of the same section of the Kane Path (#17) 
as Fig. 3-43. Note the change in water level and vegetation. 

National Park Service 

Since 1970, little stone pavement has been added to the 
system. There are two primary reasons for this. Install- 
ing stone pavement is one of the most labor-intensive 
construction techniques, and other tread options can 
usually be substituted at less expense. Additionally, 
historic stone pavement has proven to be extremely 
durable at Acadia. It generally requires very little 
repair, and most extant pavement on the trail system 
remains in good to excellent condition. 

During the 1990s, sections of stone pavement were 
repaired in the talus fields on the Jordan Pond Path 
(#39) with mixed results and on small sections of the 
Beachcroft Path (#13) with better results. However, 
both trails are in need of more repair. In a misguided 
effort, over 100 feet of stone pavement was added to 
the Ledge Trail (#103), which is otherwise a woodland 
path. (During future rehabilitation, this pavement 
should be removed, and the tread replaced with a style 
that is more compatible with the woodland character 
of the trail.) 

The most substantial, and the most appropriate addi- 
tion of stone pavement was a new section of talus 
pavement completed by the NPS in 1994 on a reroute 
of the southern end of the Kane Path (#17) along 
The Tarn. By 1975, the original route had become 
swamped by The Tarn's higher water level and was 
in need of rehabilitation. A reroute was constructed 
just west of the original. It began at the southern end 
of the original stonework and continued to traverse 
the talus slope toward a section of stone pavement 
on the northern end that had been installed in 1917. 
Attempting to provide an easier walking surface while 
adhering to the original character of the trail, the 1994 
crew constructed 262 feet of new talus pavement, the 
length of this reroute. The new work adheres to the 
old standard, using large, often cut stones set adjacent 
to one another with a flush tread surface along a large- 
gestured route (Figs. 3-43 & 3-44). (Scree was added 
at a later date and should be removed since it is not 
historically compatible with the style of pavement, and 
it is not integral to the pavement's construction.) 


Chapter 3: Treadway; D. Stone Pavement 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: Stone pavement, although a durable tread alter- 
native, is not appropriate for all historic trails. 

Treatment Guidelines: Stone pavement should only 
be used on appropriate VIA/VIS trails and the rela- 
tively few CCC trails where it was historically present. 
It is not recommended for use on trails with histori- 
cally unconstructed treadway. Extant stone pavement 
should be rehabilitated in-kind, and new, compat- 
ible sections may be added as needed. New sections 
of stone pavement may be added to VIA/VIS trails 
where it was not historically present, provided the trail 
already contains constructed features and the addi- 
tion of the pavement does not conflict with the overall 
character of the trail. When rehabilitating or adding 
new stone pavement, the appropriate style and period 
of construction should be followed. If there is trail- 
specific evidence of preexisting pavement of another 
type, the earlier type should be followed. 

2. Stone Size 

Issue: The smaller stones used in early VIA/VIS talus 
pavement are vulnerable as they are typically set 
directly on other stones and loosen over time, either 
from foot traffic or minor shifting in the talus. 

Treatment Guidelines: Every effort should be made 
to rehabilitate early VIA/VIS work to its original state. 
However, smaller pavement stones that cannot be 
locked satisfactorily between other stones may be 
replaced with pavers large enough to remain intact. 
In many cases, deep stones with a surface size similar 
to historic work can be set as "pegs," thereby imitat- 
ing extant work while being well-anchored. When 
incorporating larger stones into extant or new stone 
pavement, care should be taken to ensure the larger 
stones do not visually detract from the overall charac- 
ter of the run of stone pavement. Maintain an overall 
appearance of smaller stone sizes by only relying on 
the introduction of larger stones when no other option 
is available. 

3. Creep 

Issue: Over a period of years, steeply sloped talus fields 
"creep" toward the base of a hill and slant outwards, 
negatively impacting talus pavement. 

Treatment Guidelines: Creep is inevitable and cannot 
be slowed or prevented by construction or mainte- 
nance. Trails must be periodically rehabilitated to 
re-level talus pavement and repair collapsing walls. 
Repairs should be made as early as possible after 
"creep" is detected. If caught in time, pavers can often 


The use of stone pavement evolved from no use prior to 
the VIA/VIS, to extensive use during the VIA/VIS period, 
moderate use during the CCC period, and no use in the 
NPS periods up until the rehabilitation era began in the 
late 1990s. As a result, the defining character of stone 
pavement at Acadia was set during the peak VIA/VIS 

Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

No evidence or documentation has been found support- 
ing the use of stone pavement. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Early VIA/VIS trails used stone pavement on a small 
number of trails. Tread pavement used small, uncut stones 
set in a single row on sloping treadway for extensive runs. 
Talus pavement used small, uncut stones in short, spo- 
radic runs, usually routed around objects in the landscape. 
Later VIA/VIS trails, particularly memorial trails, used 
larger, cut stone pavement and covered wider corridors, 
often two stones wide. Talus pavement often included 
paved overlooks. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

There was some use of tread and talus pavement, but use 
of gravel treadway and switchbacks was more common. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Graded gravel and asphalt treadway was commonly used, 
but not stone pavement. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

There was sporadic construction and repair of stone 
pavement with variable success. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

be reset without extensive excavation or reconstruc- 
tion. If let go, pavers and wall can be lost or seriously 
compromised, requiring extensive repair work. 

4. Pondside Routes 

Issue: Pondside talus pavement is sometimes dislo- 
cated by rising water, typically resulting from beaver 
activity or ice. 

Treatment Guidelines: When a section of trail is 
threatened by rising water from beaver activity, a man- 
agement decision must be made in order to address 
the issue (for general guidelines regarding reroutes, see 
Chapter 1). Possible solutions include installing a pipe 
drain, removal of the beaver, rerouting a section of the 
trail, closing a portion of the trail, or closing the entire 
trail. If the trail is to remain in place, pondside stone 
pavement should be rehabilitated using as much of the 
original design and material as possible. The addition 
of larger stones may strengthen the tread and reduce 
the deteriorating effects of rising water. If rerouting is 

chosen, the new route should be sited well away from 
the anticipated high water mark. The extant stone 
pavement on the original route should remain in its 
original location and should be stabilized as necessary 
to slow or stop deterioration if possible. If stone pave- 
ment is used on the new route, additional stone should 
be brought in as needed to construct the pavement. Do 
not relocate historic material from the original route to 
construct stone pavement on the new route. 


Specifications are provided for the construction of 
talus and tread pavement in the VIA/VIS styles only. 
The small amount of stone pavement completed by 
the CCC followed these earlier styles. Subsequently, 
rehabilitation work on these trails should follow the 
specifications for the particular VIA/VIS style appro- 
priate to the trail in question (Figs. 3-45 & 3-46). 

Core is blocked 
beneath paving stones 

Paving stones sometimes 
supported by retaining wall 

Fig. 3-45 Detail of talus pavement. 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Baiter 


Chapter 3: Treadway; D. Stone Pavement 

1. Early VIA/VIS Talus Pavement 

When planning out a new section, or extensively 
rehabilitating old section of early VIA/VIS talus pave- 
ment, large boulders, trees and other significant items 
in the landscape should not be removed, and the 
overall grade and shape of the landscape should not be 

Pavers can be of any size or shape, although they typi- 
cally should range in size from 1 to 4 square feet of 
tread surface. Pavers for any stone pavement (tread 
or talus) should be acquired from local stone that is 
compatible in color and texture with other stone on 
the trail. They may be uncut or cut stone. 

Generally, pavers should be set in a row one stone 
wide, flush at the tops, either abutting or with small 
gaps. The overall trail width should be narrow at 1 to 
2 feet in width. The gaps should be chinked with the 
largest stones possible, at or below the top surface of 
the pavers. Rarely will pavement stones be set side-by- 
side. However, if the prevailing style of work on a trail 

contains side-by-side stones, this characteristic may be 
followed during subsequent work on that trail. Steps 
up and down are acceptable with no greater than a 10- 
inch rise. Level runs of pavement between steps should 
be at least 6 feet in length. Exceptions can be made to 
circumvent existing objects in the landscape. However, 
single pavers should not be set above surrounding 
pavement, requiring a step up and then an immediate 
step down. Very large stones in the trail's path or ledge 
may be used as trail surface if they provide a negotiable 
walking surface. These need not be completely flat or 

When adding new pavers to existing work, pavers are 
set on and between existing stones so that they are 
solid and level, preferably having contact with pavers 
on either side of them. Shims and retaining wall are 
not used; however, stones may be aligned at the sides 
of the pavers to "pinch" them into place. Side stones 
should have a natural look rather than appearing as 
coping or retaining wall. 

Sides packed 
with rock 
(coping often 
does not abut 

Fig. 3-46 Detail of tread pavement. 


Acadia trails Treatment Plan 

2. Memorial Trails and VIA/VIS Talus Pavement 

The following information generally applies to all 
memorial trails; however, detailed specifications are 
required for each memorial trail. Specifications for two 
memorial trails, the Schiff Path (#15) and Homans Path 
(#349), are provided in the "Individual Trail Descrip- 
tions" section of this document. 

Generally, the VIA/VIS stone pavement on the memo- 
rial trails should have a more highly crafted appear- 
ance than the early VIA/VIS work. The entire section 
of talus pavement should be designed as a unit. The 
trail should be straight or in one or several engineered 
curves. The trail should be uniformly level or nearly 
level, or in stretches of 20 feet or longer of nearly 
level tread. Multiple pavers may be set side-by-side 
to achieve the desired trail width. Average trail width 
should be 3 feet; however, it may be as wide as 10 feet. 
Width may be uniform, or may conform to peculiari- 
ties of the landscape, or may widen periodically for 
"turnouts" or overlooks. 

ous and the tops kept flush. Additional, smaller gaps 
are chinked to trail height. 

3. VIA/VIS Tread Pavement 

The early VIA/VIS pavers are set in the treadway 
on grades between 5 and 15 percent, typically along 
streamsides. Pavers are gathered from near the trail. 
They should be uncut, rectangular stones with a width 
of 16 to 24 inches. They may vary in length and should 
be at least 6 inches thick. Pavers are not usually set 
side-by-side, but in a row of single stones. The resul- 
tant paved treadway is usually 16 to 24 inches wide 

The treadway is excavated to mineral soil, deeper if 
necessary to accommodate the depth of the pavers. 
Thinner pavers are set on a base of stone rubble so 
that they achieve grade, the others are set directly into 
soil. They span the width of the trail and only the tops 
should remain visible. Pavers should contact each 
other and gaps should be chinked at or below tread 
level to maintain a continuous tread surface. 

The primary pavers should be large, rectangular stones 
with at least 4 square feet of surface area; smaller pav- 
ers may be worked in between them. They may be cut 
or uncut (as described above) and should be at least 6 
inches thick; thicker if they are smaller than 4 square 

For highly crafted memorial trails, the trail width 
should be between 20 and 36 inches. Pavers may be 
set side-by-side to achieve width but not in a riprap or 
"random" lay pattern. The prevailing character should 
be one square stone following another. The pavers are 
often cut. 

After measuring the thickness of the larger pavement 
stones, a base should be prepared. If elevation needs to 
be gained, the base should be constructed of rough- 
laid wall and backfill, following the rules of retaining 
wall building (see Chapter 6). The top course will be 
the pavers. If elevation gain is not needed, talus stones 
should be excavated and/or reset to create a solid base 
at the desired depth. 

The largest pavers are set first, solidly on the base, 
using backfill and core-packing as necessary. Shims are 
not used. The pavers are set to the outside of the trail 
corridor so that their edges form the edge of the trail. 
These stones may have gaps between them. The gaps 
are later filled with smaller stones which may be cut or 
uncut. Contact between stones should remain continu- 


1. Check and repair any retaining wall holding up 
stone pavement. 

2. Keep all associated drainage maintained and con- 
struct any new drainage necessary to ensure that 
the soil around tread pavement does not erode. 

3. Check for loose stones in talus fields, especially 
smaller stones, and reset or replace as necessary. 

4. Chink or rechink gaps between pavement stones. 

5. Watch for "creep," and repair as soon as possible 
to prevent further deterioration. 


Chapter 3: Treadway; E. Unconstructed Tread 



Unconstructed tread, also called natural treadway, is 

a section of trail on which there has been no alteration 
of the landscape and no construction of a trail sur- 
face. An unconstructed tread consists of gravelly soil, 
exposed ledge, and/or organic matter, such as roots, 
duff, and moss, as is typically found on the forest floor 
(Figs. 3-47 & 3-48). 

Of the treadway surfaces, ledge provides the most 
durable tread. In contrast, soil and organic matter on 
the forest floor are easily disturbed and quickly erode 
with even minimal foot traffic if compounded with 
drainage issues or slope. However, if foot traffic does 
not destroy the natural roots and duff, unconstructed 
tread is more durable than loose gravel; a healthy for- 
est floor is stable and will not easily erode. 

constructed non-tread features, most commonly water 
dips and waterbars, sometimes ditching or coping 
stones. The tread does not contain structures that alter 
the landscape, such as retaining walls or relocated soil 
or gravel. For example, ditch and fill is considered a 
constructed feature. 



Prior to 1890, all trails in the system were uncon- 
structed tread, with the exception of the early cart 
roads. Routes were chosen that were accessible with- 
out the aid of constructed features. Trails traversed 
fragile areas, such as across the forest floor, presum- 
ably with some resource damage. Trail use was rela- 
tively light and erosion was apparently not a concern. 
The South Ridge Trail on Cadillac Mountain (#26) and 
the Great Head Trail (#2) are examples of early trails 
that are still predominantly unconstructed tread. 

Many trails, especially trails established prior to 1920, 
are completely unconstructed. But even most of the 
highly crafted trails have sections of unconstructed 
treadway. These tend to be flat, woodland sections, or 
the upper portions of summit trails, where the grade 
levels off, the availability of stone lessens, or the tread 
becomes ledge. These sections of tread may contain 

Fig. 3-47 Unconstructed tread across ledge on the Jordan Cliffs 
Trail (#48) near Sargent Mountain summit. 

Fig. 3-48 Unconstructed tread through forest on the Norumbega 
Mountain Trail (#60). 



Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

More than 60 miles of trails with unconstructed tread 
existed on the island when the Bar Harbor VIA formed 
in 1890. VIA/VIS work focused first on new construc- 
tion, then on repair, resulting in a patchwork of trail 
work where some areas are highly constructed and 
others are almost completely unconstructed (Figs. 3-49 
& 3-50). In many places it is impossible to tell whether 
an eroded treadway was once natural soil or quarried 
gravel surfacing. The presence of borrow pits, side- 
walls, and closed culverts can offer clues in some of 
areas to the presence of constructed tread. 

Heavily used flat woodland paths, such as the Seaside 
Path (#401), demonstrate the VIA/VIS tendency to 
construct trails completely for comfortable walking, 
with walls and paving on even flat, stable areas. Some 
trails, such as the Champlain Mountain colored paths 
and the Potholes Path (#342), had short sections of 

steps incorporated into long sections of unconstructed 
treadway. The Eagles Crag Path (#27) and the Canada 
Cliffs Cutoff (#632) contain both highly crafted work 
and unconstructed tread sections. Some pondside 
trails were carefully constructed by the VIA/VIS, such 
as the Jordan Pond Path (#39); others were not, such 
as the wet, low-lying route of the Lower Hadlock Trail 
(#502) (Fig. 3-51). 

Some mountainside trails, such as the Van Sanrvoord 
Trail (#450) and the Upper Ladder Trail (#334), con- 
tain staircases in areas of modestly graded ledge which 
could have been left natural without posing problems 
to the hiker or the landscape. In contrast, many trails 
were left unconstructed, such as the Pemetic Mountain 
Trail (#31), Bear Brook Trail (#10), and Norumbega 
Mountain Trail (# 60). Many of these routes predated 
the VIA/VIS. With increased use, some sections of 
these trails have continued to erode (Fig. 3-52). 

Fig. 3-49 Unconstructed tread across ledge near summit of the 
otherwise highly constructed Schiff Path. 

Fig. 3-50 Steps with unconstructed tread and ledge on the Upper 
Ladder Trail (#334). 


Chapter 3: Treadway; E. Unconstructed Tread 

Even the most highly crafted trails, including the 
memorial trails built between 1913 and 1930, contain 
sections of unconstructed tread. For instance, the 
Schiff Path (#15) reverts to a natural ledge treadway 
once it reaches a modest incline over ledges near the 
summit. Yet, the nearby and parallel upper end of the 
Upper Ladder Trail (#334) has continued step con- 
struction through similar terrain. The Van Santvoord 
Trail (#450) showcases relatively short sections of 
highly crafted stonework between long sections of 
unconstructed tread. On many other VIA/VIS trails, 
such as the Orange and Black Path (#348) and the 
Precipice Trail (#11), constructed and unconstructed 
tread alternate. Some sections of unconstructed tread 
on highly crafted trails remain a mystery, such as a sec- 
tion on the Beachcroft Path (#13) and the upper end of 
the Homans Path (#349). 

Many VIA/VIS trails that were marked as connectors 
or cut-offs, such as the Parkman Mountain Trail (#59) 
and Grandgent Trail (#66), had completely uncon- 
structed treadways. However, the majority of trails 
built by the VIA/VIS in the 1910s and 1920s contained 
substantial areas of constructed treadway. During 
this period, the VIA/VIS also added stonework to 
unconstructed trails, such as the 177 steps added to 
unconstructed tread on the Cadillac Mountain North 
Ridge Trail (#34), which had been relocated by the 
motor road, and extensive stonework on the Duck 
Brook Path (#311), which had been marked thirty years 

On those paths that alternate between constructed and 
unconstructed treadway, two common characteristics 
are apparent. Ledge treadway was typically left as such, 
unless it was so steep as to require steps or ironwork. 
The choice to leave soil or gravel as the unconstructed 
tread was usually made in the higher portions of these 
trails, near summits, once the trail had climbed the 
steeper, rockier part of the route. This choice was 
perhaps due to the moderate overall grade or to a lack 
of suitable stone for steps or paving. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

The CCC followed standards similar to those of the 
most highly crafted VIA/VIS trails. They fully con- 
structed nearly all treadway except ledge. The few 
non-ledge trail sections left by CCC crews as uncon- 
structed tread are such anomalies that they have been 
the cause of much speculation. On both the Perpen- 
dicular Trail (#119) and the Long Pond Trail (#118), 

- 1 

■ ' \*'<lJI: In 

Fig. 3-51 The Lower Hadlock Trail (#502) contained unconstructed 
tread, and segments of it are currently in extremely poor 

Fig. 3-52 Unconstructed tread on the Norumbega Mountain Trail 
(#60) has continued to erode from increased use, leaving the trail 
corridor more than 10 feet wide in some places. 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

the treadway construction ends, leaving the upper 
quarter or so of the trail completely unconstructed. On 
the Beech Mountain West Ridge Trail (#108), a steep 
section of unconstructed trail is in poor condition with 
tread in a 1-foot-deep gully. It is possible that practical 
matters, such as distance from materials or the ending 
of a work project, resulted in these long sections of 
unconstructed treadway on otherwise highly con- 
structed trails (Figs. 3-53 & 3-54). 

NPS/Mission 66 

Mission 66 builders did not use unconstructed tread- 
way, preferring gravel or asphalt paving. 

National Park Service 

Beginning in about the 1970s, increasing use of the 
island's trail system resulted in heavy erosion of many 
pre-VIA/VIS trails with unconstructed tread. Stabiliza- 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

All tread was unconstructed except early cart roads. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Most established trails remained unconstructed. New 
trails were nearly completely constructed, but with 
unconstructed sections. Highly crafted memorial trails, 
contained sections of stonework and unconstructed 
tread. Unconstructed sections tended to be connectors 
and cutoffs or sections across ledges and summits. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Most trails were highly constructed, but sections 
appeared unfinished, perhaps because the work period 
ended before trail completion. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

All tread was constructed. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Nearly every type of feature, both appropriate and 
inappropriate, was added to sections of unconstructed 
tread. Recently, an emphasis has been placed on drainage 
swales, checks, and fill as the preferred alternatives for 
rehabilitating eroded unconstructed treadway. 

tion efforts introduced extensive log cribbing and log 
water bars, features that were not in keeping with the 
rustic stonework of the VIA/VIS and CCC. Beginning 
in the 1990s, the use of stone checks and stone steps 
served as more appropriate treatment for sections of 
eroded or gullied trails, such as on the North Bubble 
Trail (#42). High use of wet trails has also required 
construction of tread. Examples include ditch and fill 

Fig. 3-53 A 1998 photograph of the upper section of the 
Perpendicular Trail (#119), which apparently was never finished 
by the CCC. 

Ek 25 

aL ■'■■& • 



1 -ZA 

^H \ W\ l 


; '.. 




■. U -1.L 

P %6 

p. • 


j» 1 

1 ^■-riH ,;,; 1 

S V f^^l 

i 5P«*1 







Fig. 3-54 Unconstructed tread near top of Perpendicular Trail 


Chapter 3: Treadway; E. Unconstructed Tread 

sections on the Long Pond Trail (#118) and Western 
Mountain Trail (#120) and the addition of bogwalk 
over wet areas, such as on the west side of the Jordan 
Pond Path (#39). 

Additions to the trail system and reroutes since the 
1970s are predominantly unconstructed tread. Exam- 
ples include sections of the Andrew Murray Young 
Trail (#25) or the Gorge Path (#28), both of which 
replace sections of stone pavement. These decisions 
were due to lack of resources to either repair old work 
properly or build new trail in a like manner. 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: Poor layout, poor drainage, and increased hiker 
use have caused the deterioration of much uncon- 
structed treadway. Most repairs to unconstructed 
tread alter character. 

Treatment Guidelines: Once unconstructed tread is 
damaged or lost, it is difficult to retrieve without alter- 
ing its character. Preventive routine maintenance will 
alter character slightly but is often necessary to retain 
tread material. Built features must be added to raise 
tread through wet areas, to narrow widened sections 
of trail, or stop erosion. Bogwalk and ditch and fill 
are the preferred alternatives for saturated tread. A 
combination of checks, fill, and drainage dips are the 
preferred alternative for gullies. Other features, such 
as steps or log cribbing, can be used when they are 
necessary to preserve the trail. The goal is to minimize 
intervention of visible built features while maximizing 
the stabilization efforts. 

2. Trail Width 

Issue: With no or few constructed features, trail sec- 
tions with unconstructed tread may get as wide as 20 
feet or more. 

Treatment Guidelines: Definition of the trail cor- 
ridor is particularly important on heavily used trails 
and summit areas. Introduction of guidance elements, 

such as cairns, boulders, log scree, or occasional sets 
of steps, as on VIA/VIS trails, will help to define trail 

3. Roots 

Issue: Tree roots are often exposed by tread erosion 
on unconstructed trails. They make the trail difficult 
to hike. However, large-scale root removal can kill a 
substantial number of trees. Further, tree roots are 
often the only stabilizing mechanism preventing the 
trail from eroding more seriously. 

Treatment Guidelines: In dealing with erosion 
problems or exposed roots in unconstructed tread 
sections, a feasible solution that maintains the most 
natural character possible should be chosen. Roots 
can be left alone if they present no major problems 
to hikers or trail character. Select roots may be cut if 
they do not pose a serious threat to surrounding trees. 
Water dips and water bars should be added as neces- 
sary to provide proper drainage. Crush wall and tread 
surfacing with local gravel can be an excellent solution, 
combined with checks and water dips on slopes; this 
technique most closely resembles unconstructed tread. 
Log cribbing may also be an option in certain areas 
(see Chapter 6). 

4. Reroutes 

Issue: Poor layout compounded by high use has 
resulted in the deterioration of trail sections with 
unconstructed tread, particularly on pre-VIA/VIS 
summit trails. 

Treatment Guideline: Reroutes may be considered in 
certain cases, as described in Chapter 1. 

5. Unfinished Trails 

Issue: Certain portions of unconstructed treadway 
on otherwise highly crafted trails appear to have been 
left unfinished; examples include the Beachcroft Path 
(#13) near the intersection with the Wild Gardens Path 
(#354), Homans Path (#349), the Perpendicular Trail 
(#119), and the Long Pond Trail (#118). 



Treatment Guidelines: It is now a part of the historic 
character of these trails that portions were left uncon- 
structed. Therefore, in areas where no construction 
is needed, none should be done simply to create an 
historic scene. If trail work is needed to preserve tread, 
correct erosion, or address some similar concern, then 
those preferred methods for repairing unconstructed 
trail with the least impact, as outlined in the guide- 
lines above, should be the first choices of treatment. 
However, if there is a need for more substantial trail 
work, this construction should be done in a way that is 
historically compatible with more highly constructed 
sections of the trail. For example, if it is determined 
that stone stairs are needed on the unconstructed 
upper part of the Perpendicular Trail (#119), then the 
new stairs will be constructed in the style of CCC steps 
predominant on the lower section of the trail. 


1. Unconstructed treadway needs to be watched 
carefully for erosion damage, excessive wear, 
exposed roots, and trail braiding. 

2. Water dips and water bars should be installed as 
necessary and cleaned regularly (see Chapter 4, 
Sections D and E). 

3. A marked loss of material on trails of some grade 
will often require the installation of checks (see 
Chapter 6, Section A). 

4. Roots should be cut or covered according to the 
treatment guidelines above. 

5. If there are no outstanding problems, uncon- 
structed tread requires no routine maintenance. 



11 Hiking Trails Management Plan, p. 23. 

There are no specifications for constructing uncon- 
structed tread. Repairs should be performed according 
to the guidelines above, and those features constructed 
as outlined in their respective sections of this plan. If 
extensive repairs are needed, consider a new route as 
discussed in Chapter 1. 


Fig. 4-1 A large capstone culvert on the Schiff Path (#15). 









Acadia Trails treatment Plan 


Proper drainage is the most important aspect 
of trail construction, rehabilitation, or main- 
tenance because moving water is the greatest 
threat to the durability of the trail and its environment. 
The construction of any trail feature, especially the 
tread itself, must allow for drainage. Various character- 
istics such as location, slope, grade, and construction 
materials are crucial to effective drainage. In addition, 
five categories of specific drainage features are used at 
Acadia to direct the flow of water under, across or away 
from the trail. These include: 

A. Culverts 

B. Subsurface Drains 

C. Side Drains 

D. Water Bars 

E. Water Dips 

Most of Acadia's hiking trails were constructed with 
too little consideration of drainage in the trail layout 
and too few drainage structures. For the most part, 
these trails were built between 1890 and 1940 and have 
received relatively little drainage maintenance since 
then. Surviving trail sections generally contain solid 
rock construction like stairs and stone pavement, occur 
in naturally draining areas such as talus slopes or where 
running water is not an issue, contain raised tread 
through flat land, and/or receive relatively little hiker 
use. Trail sections in the worst shape are those that 
ascend the fall line with little stone construction. 

This chapter provides guidelines for the use of different 
drainage features and specifications for their construc- 
tion. In deciding on the appropriate solution for a 
drainage issue, consideration should be given to sur- 
rounding topography, amount of water flow, and direc- 
tion of trail slope. Some general guidelines include: 

• If water can be diverted without crossing the trail, a 
side drain or ditch may be used. 

• If water must cross the trail and the flow is light, 
water can be directed across the trail surface using 
a water bar or dip, or by adjusting the cross-slope 
of the tread. 

• If flow is heavy, water should be directed from one 
side of the trail to the other using a culvert, or over 
a durable surface such as stone paving or a rubble- 
lined drainage swale. 

• If the trail crosses a narrow stream, a culvert may 
suffice. However, a large stream should not be 
treated with a culvert; here a bridge or other cross- 
ing feature may be needed (see Chapter 5). 

• If crossing a stream with shallow banks, stepping 
stones should be considered for trails constructed 
by the VIA/VIS. 

Fig. 4-2 A graveled-over culvert on the Kane Path (#17). The 
lintels were once completely covered with gravel and vegetation. 

Fig. 4-3 A graveled-over culvert on the Ocean Path (#3). 


Chapter 4: Drainage; a. Culverts 



An open stone culvert is a culvert with stone sides and 
base whose top is open. Most open stone culverts have 
sides of single-tier walls, or even single stones, while 
some sides are small retaining walls (Fig. 4-5). 

A culvert is a stone, pipe, or log structure built to carry 
water under or across a trail. Closed culverts have built 
sides, a base and top, and direct water under the trail, 
allowing for an uninterrupted treadway. Open culverts 
have built sides and usually a stone base, but no top, 
resulting in an interrupted treadway. Three types of 
closed culverts and two types of open culverts are used 
in Acadia NP. 

A stepstone culvert is an open culvert with a stepstone 
placed between the sides to lengthen the width of the 
water passage. It may be simple, consisting of three 
large stones with a gap for water to flow through, or it 
may have sides that are built retaining walls. A water 
crossing with more than three stepstones in the channel 
is considered a set of stepping stones (see Chapter 5, 
Section C) (Fig. 4-6). 

A capstone culvert is a closed culvert topped with one 
or more flat stones that also serve as the treadway (Fig. 

A graveled-over culvert is a closed stone culvert over- 
laid with a gravel treadway (Figs. 4-2 &. 4-3). 

A pipe culvert is a closed culvert, the channel of which 
is a pipe or pipes set underneath the tread surface (Fig. 


Some large closed culverts are built in combina- 
tion with catch basins. A catch basin is a dry well or 
inlet, located where a ditch meets a culvert. The basin 
"catches" debris carried by fast-flowing water, pre- 
venting the debris from flowing into and clogging the 

Fig. 4-4 A new 2002 pipe culvert on Jordan Pond Path (#39). The 
photo shows header stones before crush and gravel surfacing, 
which will completely cover the pipe. Note lintel stones meet 
grade line at outside edge. 

Fig. 4-5 A recently constructed open stone culvert on the Jesup 
Path (#14) with walls of single stones. This is not an appropriate 
culvert style for a trail that historically contained graveled-over 
stone culverts and wooden bridges. 

Fig. 4-6 A stepstone culvert on the Kane Path (#17). 



Additionally, log culverts are currently extant in the 
park. Some of these are open culverts with log sidewalls 
and may have a stone-lined base. Open log culverts 
are not historic features for the trail system and are 
currently being replaced with stone and pipe culverts. 
Specifications for open log culverts are not included in 
this document. 

Closed log culverts, composed of logs covered with 
gravel placed over log abutments, are historic features. 
They are classified in this document as small bridges 
with short spans. Often closed log culverts located 
in the park in the 1970s, only three currently remain 
on the Jesup Path (#14), Kane Path (#17), and Canon 
Brook Trail (#19). These may have been built by the 
CCC. The others have been replaced with small plank 
bridges. Specifications for these bridges are included in 
Chapter 5. 



Initially, most wet areas were crossed on pole bridges 
or the trail was rerouted. There is no evidence or docu- 
mentation of culvert use prior to the VIA/VIS era. 


Beginning in the 1890s, Bar Harbor VIA path builders 
constructed "more permanent crossings for streams 
and boggy places." 12 A number of trails built before 
1900 have drainage features including closed and open 
culverts (Kane Path, #17; Red/Schooner Head Road 
Path, #362; Asticou Trail, #49; Jordan Pond Path, #39). 
Although some or all of these features may have been 
added later, it is likely that many of them were a part 
of the original construction, as the craftsmanship is 
indistinguishable from that of other original work of 
those trails. 

The first trail to receive a constructed drainage sys- 
tem may have been George Dorr's Bicycle Path (#331) 
around Beaver Dam Pool. In 1899, four years after the 
trail was initially constructed, Dorr described drainage 

The path, which had become badly washed by rains and 
worn by water dripping from the trees, has been resur- 
faced throughout its whole extent. Several additional 
culverts also have been laid across it with open catch 
drains leading to them, where surface water used to flow 
upon the path, so that there will be less washing in the 
future. 13 

In 1906 Waldron Bates also recommended that path 
builders "drain wet places or put in stepping-stones, or 
place cedar-pole bridges on the ground." 14 

Many trails constructed without adequate drainage 
systems were plagued by washouts and wet areas. 
These trails often required substantial reconstruction, 
particularly streamside trails such as the Jordan Stream 
Path (#65), heavily used trails such as the Seaside Path 
(#401), and cross-slope trails such as the Ox Hill Path 
(#420) in Seal Harbor. Culverts were used by the 
VIA/VIS, though mentioned only a few times in their 
annual reports. In fact, evidence on the ground suggests 
that some trails, such as the Red/Schooner Head Road 

Fig. 4-7 A VIA/VIS pipe culvert on the Seaside Path (#401), 
located south of the Stanley Brook Bridge. 


Chapter 4: Drainage; A. Culverts 

Path (#362), were constructed with extensive drainage 
features (closed culverts and raised tread side ditches) 
very early in the period, perhaps before 1900. In 1937, 
A. Fitz Roy Anderson, chairman of the Bar Harbor 
VIA Path Committee, described annual maintenance 
including "reconstruction [of] bridges and culverts." 15 
In 1952 Robert DeRevere, president of the Seal Harbor 
VIS, reported for the Seaside Path (#401), "new culverts 
and gutters installed from the beginning of the trail to 
the Stanley Brook Bridge." 16 These closed pipe culverts 
are still visible (Figs. 4-7 to 4-9). 

On highly crafted trails such as the Beachcroft Path 
(#13) and the Ladder Trail (#64), many drainage 
problems were solved without culverts, while some 
were not addressed and are still in need of a solution. 
Features like extensive stone paving and steps were 

used to withstand cross-trail flows of water and ice. 
However, the trails on Dorr Mountain apparently had 
excellent drainage, combining use of capstone culverts 
(Emery Path #15), graveled-over culverts (Schiff Path, 
#15, Homans Path, #349), and stepstone culverts (Kurt 
Diederich's Climb, #16) (Figs. 4-10 & 4-11). On the 
Jesup Path (#14) and Kane Path (#17) near the begin- 
ning of the Canon Brook Path (#19), small closed log 
culverts and large closed stone culverts were built (Fig. 
4-12). These VIA/VIS culverts may have been reworked 
by the CCC, who carried out extensive repair work in 
the Dorr Mountain area. Unlike most small VIA/VIS 
closed culverts, the Gurnee Path (#352), completed in 
1926, contains one of the largest graveled-over stone 
culverts in the trail system, with an opening 6 feet high 
and 2 feet wide, and an enormous capstone supporting 
the gravel tread (Fig. 4-13). 

Fig. 4-8 A defunct VIA/VIS vitrified clay pipe culvert on the 
Seaside Path (#401), south of the Stanley Brook Bridge. 

Fig. 4-10 A 1920 view of capstone culvert with walled side drain 
on the Emery Path (#15) constructed in 1916 by Bar Harbor VIA. 

Fig. 4-9 VIA/VIS graveled-over culvert on the Asticou Trail (#49). 

Fig. 4-1 1 A VIA/VIS or CCC graveled-over road culvert near the 
Jesup Path (#14) between The Tarn and Sieur de Monts Spring. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

In the 1930s, graveled-over and capstone culverts were 
used extensively in CCC work to direct water under 
the trail from ditches on the uphill side. Construction 
methods were fully described in the CCC handbook for 
trail work (Fig. 4-14). On the Perpendicular Trail (#119), 
the CCC built their culverts as exhibition pieces, con- 
structing the sides with smooth-faced dry laid wall that 

tied neatly into the retaining wall holding the treadway. 
The CCC then topped these culverts with massive, cut 
capstones that were left exposed as the treadway, and 
framed at the edges with large coping stones. These 
culverts were apparently modeled after the capstone 
culverts of the Emery Path (#15). Many of the larger 
CCC capstone culverts also included catch basins (Figs. 
4-15 to 4-17). 

Fig. 4-12 A VIA/VIS or CCC graveled-over road 
culvert near the Jesup Path (#14) between The 
Tarn and Sieur de Monts Spring. 







Fig. 4-13 A VIA/VIS graveled-over culvert on 
the Gurnee Path (#352). This is one of the larger 
culverts on the trail system. 

Fig. 4-14 CCC specifications for graveled-over culverts. Note "depression in trail 
above culvert," now termed a "dip" by the NPS trails crew and "ducks nest cut 
in bank," now described as a "side drain and catch basin." 


Chapter 4: Drainage; A. Culverts 

However, the predominant choice of culvert was the 
graveled-over stone culvert. These are extant on the 
Long Pond Trail (#118), Beech Mountain West Ridge 
Trail (#108), Valley Trail (#116), Beech Cliffs Ladder 
Trail (#106), Beech Cliffs Loop Trail (#114), and Ocean 
Path (#3). 

After the CCC crews left, the closed culverts were often 
overlooked, not maintained, and consequently filled 
with organic matter and clogged. By the time the level 
of trail use and maintenance increased in the 1970s, 
many closed culverts were no longer functioning and 
are currently nearly completely obscured. Examples 
include graveled-over culverts on the Beech Mountain 
West Ridge Trail (#108). 

NPS/Mission 66 

Trails constructed during the Mission 66 period of the 
late 1950s and early 1960s typically used corrugated 
metal pipe culverts, which are still evident on the 
Anemone Cave Trail (#369), Ship Harbor Nature Trail 

(#127), and Beech Mountain Loop Trail (#113) (Fig. 
4-18). Culverts on these trails were covered over with 
asphalt or gravel. Insufficient headwalls, tread loss, and 
low maintenance have allowed frost to heave many of 
these pipes out of the ground. 

National Park Service 

Beginning in the 1970s, NPS built additional culverts, 
and replaced or removed existing culverts. Many 
closed culverts were converted to open culverts due 
to ease of construction and maintenance, such as on 

Fig. 4-16 Located near the base of the Perpendicular Trail (#119), 
a small CCC graveled-over culvert now has underlying capstones 
visible due to loss of gravel. A catch basin (difficult to discern in 
the photo) is in the foreground and a coping stone is visible on 
far side of treadway. 

Fig. 4-15 A massive CCC capstone culvert on the Perpendicular 
Trail (#119). 

Fig. 4-17 Large capstone culvert on the Emery Path (#15). 



the Long Pond Trail (#118). Since the mid-1990s, NPS 
has focused on locating and cleaning existing closed 
culverts. New closed and open culverts have been built 
using historical prototypes, such as on the Pond Trail 
(#20), and using new materials like steel pipes, as seen 
on the Jordan Pond Path (#39) (Figs. 4-19 to 4-21). 

Note: To date, the use of plastic perforated pipes with 
geotextile material has been limited to subsurface 
drains and not typically used with culverts. 

Fig. 4-18 This 10-foot-long corrugated pipe culvert, installed by 
Mission 66 crews on the Beech Mountain Loop Trail (#113), has 
been exposed by frost heave and tread loss. 

Fig. 4-20 This repair of a washed-out section on the Pond Trail 
(#20) consists of a closed capstone culvert incorporated into a 
stone stairway. It was constructed by NPS crews in 1995. 

Fig. 4-19 A stone-lined open culvert on the Long Pond Trail 
(#118). This culvert may have originally been a graveled-over 
stone culvert. 

Fig. 4-21 A 2002 finished pipe culvert on the Jordan Pond Path 
(#39) in which pipe is obscured by insloping lintels and support 
rocks that are mostly covered with gravel. Lintels tie in to crush 
wall on one side and retaining wall on the other. 


Chapter 4: Drainage; a. Culverts 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

No evidence or documentation for culvert use has been 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Graveled-over culverts, open stone culverts, stepstone 
culverts, and closed log culverts were used. Vitrified clay 
pipes may have been included. On streams too large for 
culverts, stepping stones, bridges, and stone pavement 
were the preferred options. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Large closed culverts were often highly visible showpieces 
of dry laid stonework. Graveled-over culverts were also 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Corrugated metal pipes were introduced and used almost 
exclusively for new culverts. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

All types of culverts were used, although not necessarily in 
the right places or with the right construction techniques. 
The use of open stone and log culverts was predominant. 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issues: Historically inaccurate culvert styles have been 
added to many trails in an effort to ease installation, 
safety, and maintenance concerns. Some problems with 
historic culvert styles include: 

• Closed culverts are more difficult to construct, 
locate, and maintain than open culverts. 

• Open culverts can be tripping hazards for hikers. 
They also impede ADA accessibility. 

• Some historic materials like vitrified clay pipes have 
not proven to be long-lasting, and are hard to find 
through local suppliers. 

Treatment Guidelines: Culverts fall into categories 
according to type and era of construction. In order 
to maintain the trail system's historic character, the 

appropriate culvert type should be identified for each 
situation. As a result, some maintenance and safety con- 
cerns will have to be addressed and concessions made. 
For example, given the historic predominance of closed 
culverts, their use will likely be increased, even though 
it will mean additional maintenance on the trail system. 
They are more historically appropriate and are less of a 
safety concern for hikers than open culverts. 

Historic materials are preferred in new construction 
or rehabilitation; however, substitutions may be made 
for materials that are not exposed or easily seen by the 
average hiker. When constructing new VIS/VIS style 
pipe culverts, steel or other appropriate pipe materials 
may be used in place of the vitreous clay pipes. 


Choosing which type of culvert to build and precisely 
how to build it should be based on three consider- 

• What is the appropriate era and/or builder of the 

• What is the historical character of other culverts on 
the trail? 

• What are the topography and drainage conditions 
of the area surrounding the trail? 

A VIA/VIS trail section with light to medium level 
of flow generated by either side drains or a narrow 
stream crossing, should be treated with a graveled-over 
culvert, a stepstone culvert, or an open stone culvert. A 
shallow VIA/VIS stream crossing that is too wide for a 
graveled-over culvert should be treated with stepping 
stones or a stepstone culvert. In cases where the stream 
banks are both steep and wide, a bridge may be needed 
(see Chapter 5). 

A CCC trail should be treated with culverts in the 
style of its extant culverts. In general, stepped or 
stone-paved sections will use capstone culverts, and 
gravel-paved sections will use graveled-over culverts, 
or possibly pipe culverts. For example, the stepped 



Perpendicular Trail (#119) contains mostly capstone 
culverts. New culverts added to the trail, or rehabilita- 
tion of existing culverts will follow this style. Similarly, 
graveled-over culverts are the preferred choice for 
gravel-paved sections of the Valley Trail (#116) since 
the majority of this trail's extant culverts are of this 

not be disturbed, so the floor of the culvert should be 
at the level of the gully bed. Then the elevation of the 
trail, compared with the elevation of the gully bed, may 
dictate a wide, shallow culvert, or a deep, narrow one. 
But the wider the culvert the easier it will take water, 
and the less danger there will be of destructive cutting 
on the discharge side. 

For CCC and VIA/ VIS trails reworked by the CCC, 
a catch basin may be added to large closed culverts, 
provided the construction of a catch basin is possible 
and will not substantially affect the character of the 
culvert or the surrounding area. In considering the 
addition of a catch basin, the relative need should be 
the deciding factor. Because of the difficulty of con- 
struction and maintenance, catch basins should not be 
used unless absolutely necessary. If the trail is in danger 
of being substantially damaged by the failure of a single 
drainage feature, or if there is a vulnerable tread surface 
protected by few drainage features in danger of receiv- 
ing large volumes of water with substantial debris, a 
catch basin may be needed. For instance, some large 
open stone culverts on the Jordan Pond Path (#39) 
protect yards of graveled treadway. These features are 
responsible for streams with substantial seasonal flow 
that regularly wash branches and small stones into the 
culvert opening. Catch basins are an appropriate con- 
sideration for use with these culverts. 

While it is impossible to discern on Acadia's trails 
today, a common practice recommended in CCC 
literature may have been used at Acadia. A constructed 
treadway forms a slight dip over or near closed culverts, 
and to either side of open culverts. This directs water 
over the trail in a controlled way in the event of culvert 

General recommendations for culvert construction 
may be borrowed from 1937 CCC trail guidelines: 

In gullies, nature has already determined the type of 
structure to be employed, which is a culvert big enough 
to carry all the water that comes down. The gully has 
already established a temporary balance between the 
scour of the stream and its bed. This balance should 

There is no satisfactory information on the size of 
culverts required for different watersheds. The area of 
the watershed, the steepness of its slopes, the amount 
of natural impounding in its basin, the amount and 
kind of cover, and the condition of the soil, combined 
to absorb or shed water. The best practice is to judge as 
competently as possible from local conditions how large 
a drainage structure should be. It should not be less than 
one foot in width or height, to avoid choking.. . . 

Established channels determine the location of culverts, 
and the amount of water to be served can be estimated 
with reasonable accuracy. Any depression, even one 
coming from a small spring, is the established drainage 
channel in that area. This can be proved by the absence 
of erosion, and the presence of cover, on nearby 
surfaces. The amount of run-off at flood stage can be 
estimated by lines of drift left by high water, scouring 
at the bases of tree, root systems exposed by scouring, 
fresh surfaces on rocks below old stain-bands, shrub- 
bery tilted down hill, and other signs. 

The culvert must be large enough to carry flood water. 
And its floor must be at the level of the channel bed. 
These two factors determine the size and shape of the 
structure. Where there is any choice, the culvert should 
be wide, rather than deep. . . . 

Preferably all culverts should be made of stone, using 
dry or mortar joints.... The ends of the walls should be 
flared, as a usual practice, to. ..prevent scouring by flood 
water. Care should be taken to keep the inside surfaces 
uniform and smooth, to prevent debris from catching. A 
culvert should extend a foot or two beyond the edge of 
the trail on each side, and the trail widened to the head 
walls of the culvert. The bottom of the culvert should 
slope not less than 3/8 inch per foot. 17 


Chapter 4: Drainage; A. Culverts 

Specifications follow for the construction of specific 
drainage features. 

1. Capstone Culvert (Fig. 4-22) 

Historic capstone culverts are found on three VIA/VIS 
trails: the Emery Path (#15), the Schiff Path (#15), and 
the Homans Path (#349). Examples of CCC use are 
located on the Valley Cove part of the Flying Moun- 
tain Trail (#105), the Beech Mountain West Ridge 
Trail (#108), the Perpendicular Trail (#119). Capstone 
culverts tend to be bigger than most graveled-over 
culverts. The capstone culvert has a stone base, side 
retaining walls, and a capstone at the top serving as the 

Dimensions: The area and depth of construction for 
the culvert is determined by the amount of water flow, 
the topography, and trail surface elevation. The total 
length of the culvert ranges from 4 to 6 feet (width of 

trail plus coping stones, if coping stones are to be used). 
The height of the side retaining walls ranges from 1 to 
5 feet. The typical opening for water flow is 2 to 3 feet 
wide by 1 to 2 feet high. 

Construction: Sidewalls should be set 6 inches or more 
below the floor of the culvert to lock them in place. 
Sidewalls may consist of single large stones, or may 
be small retaining walls constructed of several stones. 
The faces of the walls on the inside of the culvert are 
vertical. The ends of these walls at the edges of the trail 
form 90-degree angles with the trail retaining walls, 
which are themselves usually battered. Wall courses 
should be interlaced at the corner. The size of the stone 
used in these walls varies widely. It is rectangular stone, 
often as small as 2 inches thick by 6 inches wide and 
long. However, such stones can share a wall with larger 
blocks 2 feet square. Sidewalls do not extend beyond 
the width of the capstone and any coping laid beside it. 

If coping stones are laid beside capstone, place 
them on top course of side retaining walls "" 

■ '" " . :•* 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Bariei 

Fig. 4-22 Detail of a capstone culvert. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

The top of the side retaining walls is at a height below 
the surface of the trail so that the capstone will be flush 
with the final surface. 

The floor of the culvert is then laid between the walls. 
It may be "tiled" with flat-laid stones contacting each 
other, with the remaining gaps chinked, or it may be 
packed stone rubble. The floor of the culvert should 
extend into the drainage on both sides of the culvert 
so that it surrounds the edges of wall stones. On the 
downhill side of the drainage it should extend beyond 
the point at which scouring is likely to occur. Rubble 
culvert floors should be locked into place at their out- 
lets by stones set into the ground, the tops of which are 
flush with the top of the culvert floor. 

VIS trails include the Seaside Path (#401), Asticou Trail 
(#49), Red/Schooner Head Road Path (#362), Jesup 
Path (#14), and Kane Path (#17). Examples of CCC use 
are located on the Ocean Path (#3), Valley Trail (#116), 
and Long Pond Trail (#118). 

The graveled-over culvert has a stone bottom, retain- 
ing walls on its sides, and lintels and is intended to 
be under the treadway. There are two variations of 
graveled-over culverts in Acadia. Some use vegetation 
over the lintels at the edge of the treadway to retain low 
sidewalls and gravel. Examples of these culverts were 
used on the Red/Schooner Head Road Path (#362). 
Others have coping or insloping lintels at the edges to 
retain gravel, like examples on the Gurnee Path (#352). 

A capstone spans the width and length of the culvert 
and sits level on the sidewalls. In some cases, this cap- 
stone is actually a step up as well as a culvert (Perpen- 
dicular Trail, #119). The average size of the capstone is 
2 to 4 feet long and wide and 6 or more inches thick. 
However, the capstones on the Dorr Mountain trails 
are much larger; one is 10 feet long by 5 feet wide by 
1 foot thick. In some cases, the top of a CCC culvert 
will be more than one stone. Capstones may be cut or 

In some CCC capstone culverts, coping stones that 
span the culvert opening are set on one or both sides of 
the capstone. Typically the coping stones are not set on 
the capstone but, instead, on the sidewalls. The coping 
stone (s) span the gap in the trail retaining wall that is 
either the inlet or outlet of the culvert. There is no rule 
for whether culverts have coping stones on one or both 
sides of the trail, or for which side of the culvert a single 
coping stone should be placed. Where culverts are 
breaks in tall retaining walls, or in retaining walls that 
already have coping stones, coping should be set beside 
capstones so that they span the opening in these walls. 

Dimensions: Area and depth of construction for the 
culvert should be determined by the amount of water 
flow, topography, and trail surface elevation. The total 
length of the culvert should be 6 to 9 feet, including the 
1- to 3-foot extension beyond the edge of the treadway 
on both sides. The culvert opening ranges from 1 to 2 
feet wide by 6 inches to 2 feet high. However, it may be 
as large as 6 feet high. VIA/VIS endowed paths such as 
the Jesup Path (#14) and Gurnee Path (#352), and CCC 
paths fall towards the larger end of this spectrum, while 
earlier paths contain the smaller-size culverts. 

Construction: Sidewalls should be set 6 inches or more 
below the floor of the culvert to lock them in place. 
Sidewalls may consist of single large stones, or may 
be small retaining walls constructed of several stones. 
The top of the side retaining walls is at a height below 
the surface of the trail so that the lintel can be laid over 
them, and the coat of gravel over the lintels will be flush 
with the final surface. In other words, if 6-inch-thick 
lintels are to be used, and 3 inches of surfacing, then the 
wall height should be 9 inches below the finished grade 
of the trail. 

2. Graveled-over Culvert (Figs. 4-23 & 4-24) 

Graveled-over culverts are found on VIA/VIS trails 
with gravel treadway and on some CCC trails. Differ- 
ences in construction details for the two periods are 
noted in the specifications that follow. Relevant VIA/ 

The floor of the culvert is then laid between the walls. 
It may be "tiled" with flat-laid stones contacting each 
other, with the remaining gaps chinked, or it may be 
packed stone rubble. The floor of the culvert should 
extend into the drainage on both sides of the culvert 


Chapter 4: Drainage; A. Culverts 

so that it surrounds the edges of wall stones. On the 
downhill side of the drainage it should extend beyond 
the point at which scouring is likely to occur. Rubble 
culvert floors should be locked into place at their out- 
lets by stones set into the ground, the tops of which are 
flush with the top of the culvert floor. 

Lintels are then spanned over the culvert opening so 
that they are laid with one side on each wall. They are 
set side by side, spanning the culvert length. Lintels 
average 1 foot wide and 2 to 3 feet long. Their thickness 
ranges from 3 inches for narrow spans to a foot or more 

for wider spans. There should be no gaps between 
lintels that cannot be completely chinked closed. Gaps 
allow gravel from the tread surface to filter through. It 
is not necessary for the surface of the lintels to be flat, 
or at all even, as it will be covered with gravel. Some 
lintel stones may be rounded on top, or have protrud- 
ing pieces. 

In a Gurnee-style culvert, the lintels set at each end of 
the culvert should meet the grade line similar to cause- 
way wall stones, slope inwards like pipe culvert headers 
(see below), and have good contact points on each side 

End lintels slope in and 
are covered with gravel 

Side retaining 
walls are 
locked below 
floor of culvert 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Baner 

Fig. 4-23 Detail of a VIA/VIS graveled-over culvert, as was built on the Gurnee Path (#352). 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

so that they hold gravel. In Kane Path and Red/Schoo- 
ner Head Road Path (#362)-style culverts, the lintels 
set outside the trail need only be laid as the others, as 
they will be covered with 3 to 4 inches of stones, gravel, 
and vegetation. 

then covered with soil and transplanted vegetation. 
Small stones may be laid along the outside of the 
revegetated top of the culvert to retain the material. Sod 
should be planted immediately in the vegetated area to 
ensure the retention of coping, soil, and trail material. 

In Kane Path (#17) and Red/Schooner Head Road 
Path-style culverts, a single row of coping stones is 
placed on top of the top stones, framing the width of 
the trail and holding the gravel treadway. The VIA/VIS 
often used softball-sized stones. If abutting stones are 
used, each should be of a size compatible with other 
coping or sidewall on the trail. When possible, single 
long stones spanning the culvert width are recom- 
mended to increase durability. The length of stone 
will vary with width of culvert, but width and height of 
stone should be between 6 inches and 1 foot. Coping 
stones should be locked in place with smaller stones, 

For CCC trails a dip should be constructed in the tread- 
way somewhere above the culvert, ideally several feet 
from it, so that water flowing through the dip doesn't 
destroy the culvert. Such a depression ensures that 
water flowing over a clogged or overstressed culvert 
will cross the trail above it, instead of traveling down 
the trail and washing out long sections of treadway. The 
dip dimensions are determined by the flow of water, 
the slope of the treadway, and the width of the drain- 
age. The width of the dip should exceed the width of 
the culvert beneath it by a foot on either side. 

Area outside of trail edge over lintels 
is filled with soil and vegetated 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barler 

Fig. 4-24 Detail of a graveled-over culvert with vegetation cover, as was used on the Schooner Head Road Path (#362). 


Chapter 4: Drainage; A. Culverts 

Lintels are insloping and 
completely covered by tread 

Single rocks 
or low walls at 
either side of 
pipe support 

Pipe is set in bed 
of crushed stone 

Pipe is overhung by 
lintels and is obscured 

Pipe sits on 
rock base 

Fig. 4-25 Detail of a pipe culvert with stone headwalls. 

3. Pipe Culvert (Fig. 4-25) 

VIA/VIS and CCC pipe culverts appear in raised tread 
areas incorporating side drains. Pipe culverts serve the 
same function as graveled-over culverts. The pipe is 
protected and obscured at each end by a stone head- 
wall, which consists of a stone base, side support walls, 
and lintel. Usually in VIA/VIS pipe culverts the side 
retaining walls are single stones. 

Dimensions: Dimensions are dictated by width of trail 
and amount of flow. Pipe diameter should be at least 
eight inches to facilitate cleaning. The ends of the pipe 
should be set back two to four inches from the out- 
side edges of the header walls in order to obscure and 
protect the pipe. 

the pipe, but below the grade line so that the lintel will 
exactly reach the grade line when it is laid across them. 
The lintel is laid so that it slopes in, exactly reaching the 
grade line at the edge of trail. Lintel stones should com- 
pletely span support stones and have contact points on 
each side so that gravel is retained. Lintels that do not 
slope into the trail and become covered with surface 
materials do not stay in place. Support stones are held 
in place by abutting causeway stones, or in the case of 
wall-less construction, by stone rubble. 

Rubble is packed around the pipe to secure it in place, 
and at least 6 inches of surface material is laid over the 
top of the pipe and over the insloping portions of the 
lintels, to prevent frost heave. 

Construction: Stone rubble is laid in the drainage 
channel beneath the pipe. One pipe should be laid 
across the trail following the angle at which the water 
crosses the trail. Pipe culverts draining inside ditches 
should be laid perpendicular to the trail if possible. 

At each end of the pipe, lintel supports and lintels 
are placed. The supports, or support walls, are usu- 
ally single stones laid on each side of the pipe, well 
below grade, header style, and sloping into the trail. 
The height of the support stones should be just above 

4. Open Stone Culverts (Fig. 4-26) 

Open stone culverts were used by the VIA/VIS to allow 
small and medium streams to cross trails, and to drain 
side drains. NPS has built a number of these features 
since the 1970s, not all of them in appropriate places. 
Original open stone culverts can be found on many 
VIA/VIS trails, including the Jordan Pond Path (#39), 
the Seaside Path (#401), Eagle Lake Trail (#42), the 
Jordan Pond Carry Path (#38), and Kurt Diederich's 
Climb (#16). 



This type of culvert encompasses a broad range of 
individual styles, influenced by builder and era, but all 
are of the same basic design with a single channel, stone 
retaining wall sides, and open top creating a gap in the 
treadway. The sidewalls may be single-tier or multi-tier, 
and the floor may or may not be lined. 

Dimensions: The culvert should extend the width of 
the trail. The culvert opening varies between 8 and 16 
inches. Less than 8 inches clogs too easily and greater 
than 16 inches is difficult to step across. Historically, the 
depth of open culverts has varied greatly, from 8 inches 
to 3 feet. For rehabilitation, shallower channels are pre- 
ferred for visitor safety. They should average between 8 
inches and 1 foot. Deeper channels should be avoided. 

Construction: Single-tier walls may be built of stones 
set in various styles, including "toast" (standing up), 
"cake" (lying down), or "header" (set vertically, but 
with the greatest length of the stone extending back 

into the trail). However, while historical examples exist, 
"toasf'-style sets are far weaker and are not recom- 
mended unless rocks are very large (over 3 cubic feet), 
and set halfway or more into the ground; "toasf'-style 
sets are never used in multi-tier walls. Wall footings 
should be set at least 3 inches below the floor of the 
culvert, and all retaining wall sides should conform to 
standards for retaining wall construction (see Chapter 
6). In order to retain tread material, there should be 
high contact between stones at the top of the culvert 
side walls. Sidewalls should extend at least 6 inches 
below the surface of the culvert floor. Bottom courses 
should be set in solid soil or on a base of stone rubble. 
Outside edges of the culvert walls should usually be 
locked in place with large stones set deep in the ground, 
to prevent separation. 

The floor of the culvert may be stone tiled, stone 
rubble, or earth and should be constructed the same as 
with a capstone culvert. 

Culvert stones are 
set well below drain 
and culvert floors 

Culvert stones are 
headers with high contact 
towards front 

Outside culvert stones 
are supported by 
deep-set rocks 

■ ACAD NB^Baldyga/Bailer 

Fig. 4-26 Detail of an open stone culvert. 


Chapter 4: Drainage; a. Culverts 

■v * 


j» . .^^■■■i 


Br "l^B 

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I K 5 1 

Fig. 4-27 Newly installed stepstone culvert on the Jordan Pond Path (#39) 

5. Stepstone Culverts (Fig. 4-27) 

Stepstone culverts are open stone culverts with two 
or more drainage channels separated by one or more 
stepstones. The addition of a stepstone or stones to 
the drainage path of a culvert allows for a substantial 
widening of the drainage path. For the purpose of 
clarity, drainage features with three or more stepstones 
between the walls at their edges will be considered 
stepping stones. Stepstone culverts are the rarest of 
the culvert types, but they appear on several VIA/VIS 
trails, including the Jordan Pond Path (#39) and Kurt 
Diederich's Climb (#16). 

Dimensions: The length of the culvert should extend 
the width of the trail. The width of the opening is usu- 
ally greater than 16 inches. Any narrower width, and a 
stepstone is not usually needed as the open culvert can 
be easily traversed. The depth of the channel should be 
8 inches to 1 foot. 

have flat or nearly flat tops and are set 
level with one another and the culvert 
sidewalls. They may be set directly 
in the earth, on or between existing 
stones, or on built-up beds of stone 

6. Catch Basins (Fig. 4-28) 

As noted in treatment recommenda- 
tions, catch basins are not intended for 
use with all culverts. Generally, if the 
culvert opening is 18 inches or wider, 
a catch basin should be considered, 
particularly if there is heavy water flow 
laden with organic matter. 

Dimensions: When catch basins are 
constructed, they should conform to 
the dimensions of both the culvert opening and the 
side-drain width (if a side drain is used). A catch basin 
serving a culvert whose opening is 2 feet wide and 
whose drainage ditch is 18 inches wide will be 2 feet by 
18 inches. One foot square is a minimum size for catch 
basins, to allow for both effective trapping and clean- 
ing. An ideal depth is 6 inches below the surface of the 
drainage floor, though massive culverts may require 
more depth. 

Construction: Construction of a catch basin should 
blend with that of the culvert and drainage. A stone- 
lined drain that empties into a stone culvert may have a 
catch basin. If so, it will have a square catch basin with 
four sides constructed of stone and a paved or crushed 
stone bottom. On the other hand, culverts that termi- 
nate at unlined ditches containing catch basins will 
have a single built side at the terminus of the culvert 
with a simple crushed-stone base. 

Construction: For the construction of the culvert side- 
walls and floor, see "Open Stone Culverts" above. 

The stepstones should generally follow the specifi- 
cations for stepping stones for stream crossings as 
described in Chapter 5, Section C. These stones vary 
between 1 and 6 square feet of stepping surface. They 

Sidewalls should be constructed of single stones buried 
eight inches or more in the ground, though laid wall 
may be used for deeper catch basins. At their tops, 
catch basins should have high contact between stones 
to retain material behind them and keep the catch basin 
from silting in unnecessarily. 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

Catch basin walls 
have high contact 
and are set we 
below its floor 

Culvert floor 
is laid stone set 
well below catch 
basin floor 

Catch basin floor 
is laid or crushed 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 

Fig. 4-28 Detail of a catch basin. 


1. All types of culverts and associated inflow and out- 
flow drains should be cleaned annually and kept 
free of debris, soil, and stones. Culverts with stone 
bases should be scraped clean to the stones. Cul- 
verts with gravel or soil bases should be cleaned to 
the level consistent with drains flowing into them; 
care must be taken not to dig too deep, as this 
could expose and weaken the sides of the culvert. 

2. Outflow drains should be cleaned and re-dug as far 
as necessary to ensure that water flows unimpeded 
from the culvert. Dams in outflow drains can cause 
water to back up onto the trail, or ice to freeze 
inside the culvert and destroy it. 

3. Catch basins should be cleaned annually by remov- 
ing silt and gravel buildups. 

4. Check for loose or collapsed stones in the sides 
and tops of culverts. Loose sidewalls should 
be rebuilt. Loose top stones can sometimes be 
shimmed, but will normally have to be relaid. In the 
case of graveled-over culverts, check the interior of 
the culvert for evidence of separation between the 
top stones. Failure in this area would allow gravel 
to fall in and clog the culvert. Repair as necessary. 

5. For pipe culverts, reset pipes that have been lifted 
by ice and resurface the treadway. 


Chapter 4: Drainage; B. Subsurface Drains 




A subsurface drain is a covered drain, also called a 
hidden or blind drain, that allows water to percolate 
alongside and/or under the trail. This type of drain can 
absorb large volumes of slow-moving, seeping water. 
Three types of subsurface drains are found at Acadia. 
The first two types, French drains and subgrade drain- 
age, are features used historically on the trail system. 
The third type, perforated-pipe drain, is a contempo- 
rary substitute for the French drain. 

A French drain is a covered channel of stone laid 
underneath the trail surface or the surrounding ground. 
A French drain may run along the uphill side of the 
treadway and/or underneath the treadway, extending 
across to the downhill side of the treadway. The stones 
allow water to percolate through. This type of drain- 
age was used historically on the trail system. Over time, 
French drains may silt in and become ineffective. 

Subgrade drainage is non-channeled subsurface 
drainage that moves through the subgrade of the entire 
length of trail sections. The subgrade is constructed 
of clean stone rubble that allows percolation through 
the trail beneath the surface of the treadway. For more 
information on this type of drainage, see Chapter 3, 
Section B and C. 


There is no documentation or evidence of the use of 
subsurface drainage prior to the VIA/VIS era. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

The first trail that included subsurface drains was likely 
George Dorr's Bicycle Path (#331) around Beaver 
Dam Pool. In 1901, six years after the trail was initially 
constructed, Dorr described revegetation of a bank 
"that covers a drain upon the western side and pro- 
tects the path from overflow by surface water from 
the higher ground above." 18 On other later VIA/VIS 
trails, the treadway was improved by the construction 
of subgrade drainage under raised treadway. Water 
could then percolate into and under the trail surface. 
In such cases the entire section of trail functioned as 
a subsurface drain. Trails built in this manner include 
the Red/Schooner Head Road Path (#362) and Seaside 
Path (#401). This method is described in more detail in 
Chapter 3, Section B. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

The CCC used French drains, both alongside and 
under the trail treadway, and subgrade drainage. Evi- 
dence of their work is found in historical photographs 
taken during the construction and reconstruction of 
the Ocean Path (#3) at Otter Cliffs and the Ladder Trail 
(#64). CCC stone drain work is also still evident on the 
Long Pond Trail (#118) and the Valley Trail (#116). 

A perforated-pipe drain consists of sections of perfo- 
rated plastic pipe surrounded by gravel and wrapped 
in geotextile material. Perforated-pipe drains may run 
parallel to the trail on its uphill side, functioning as side 
drains, or they may cross underneath the treadway, 
functioning as culverts. Plastic perforated-pipe drains 
allow unimpeded flow of water with minimal siltation 
and are considered a preferable alternative to French 

NPS/Mission 66 

Design drawings prepared for the construction of 
trails during the Mission 66 period indicate that sub- 
grade drainage was the only type of hidden drainage 
employed by Mission 66 builders, often in conjunction 
with side drains and pipe culverts. 

National Park Service 

NPS crews began to use subsurface drainage more 
consistently during the rehabilitation efforts in the 
1990s. In 1999 the NPS trails crew installed the first 
perforated-pipe drains on the Jordan Pond Path (#39) 
to capture seepage from the slope above the pond. 



This feature was also successfully used on the Great 
Meadow Loop (#70). 


1. Trail Erosion and Tread Saturation 

Issues: Inadequate subsurface drainage can be a 
substantial threat to trail integrity. If the water is not 
adequately channeled from the trail or allowed to 
percolate underneath the trail, erosion, trail saturation, 
or other problems will result. French drains, although 
historically used on the trail system, are not effective for 
the long term. Siltation eventually renders them ineffec- 
tive, and they are difficult, if not impossible to clear out 
and maintain. Historically, subgrade drainage was not 
used frequently enough. 

Treatment Guidelines: Subsurface drainage should 
continue to be used as the trail system is rehabilitated to 
protect the trails' structural integrity, prevent erosion, 
and eliminate tread saturation. 

French drains are historic features on many trails, and 
should be preserved and rehabilitated as necessary. 
However, given their likelihood of failure, they are not 
recommended for addition to existing trails or new trail 

Perforated-pipe drains and subgrade drainage are the 
two features recommended for constructing new trails, 
or adding drainage to existing trails. Since these fea- 
tures are hidden underneath the trail, they do not inter- 
fere with the trail's historic aesthetic, yet still provide an 
effective solution to subsurface drainage problems. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

There is no evidence or documentation for subsurface 
drain use. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Concealed French drains on the uphill side of the trail 
were used to capture cross-trail water flow in combina- 
tion with stone rubble under the treadway. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Concealed French drains on the uphill side of the trail 
were used to capture cross-trail water flow in combina- 
tion with stone rubble under the treadway. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

The use of subsurface drainage diminished as open 
ditches and pipe culverts were routinely used. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Concealed perforated-pipe drains were first used in the 
system. Like concealed French drains, these were located 
on the uphill side of a trail to capture cross-trail water 
flow in combination with stone rubble under the tread- 


Specifications are provided for French drains and 
perforated-pipe drains. Construction of subgrade 
drainage is integral to construction of the trail's tread. 
See Chapter 3 for specifications concerning tread 

Fig. 4-29 A circa 1935 photograph of a CCC rehab of the lower 
section of the Ladder Trail (#64) shows a rubble French drain 
being installed along the side of a staircase with coping retaining 

Chapter 4: Drainage; B. Subsurface Drains 

1. French Drain (Fig. 4-29) 

French drains were installed by the VIA/VIS and CCC 
using a technique similar to the description below. 

The wet or boggy section of trail is excavated to create 
a channel underneath the trail approximately 2 feet 
below the treadway and 2 feet wide. The section is filled 
with stone rubble or coarse gravel. The drain should 
extend 2 or more feet in length on the downhill side of 
the trail, to provide more area for the water to drain. 
Larger stones are placed at the base of the drain with 
progressively smaller stones toward the surface and a 
final covering of tread material. Geotextile material may 
be used to cover stones underneath the final layer of 
tread material. 

2. Perforated-Pipe drain (Fig. 4-30) 

Perforated-pipe drains have been installed by the NPS 
trails crew on the Jordan Pond Path (#39) and Great 
Meadow Trail (#70) according to the following proce- 

A 4-inch-diameter, flexible plastic, perforated pipe and 
lightweight, non-woven, water-permeable geotextile 
material are the primary materials used. 

New pipe begins 
where previous pipe 
turns to cross trail 

In one type of application, the lengths of pipe are 
installed in a trench running alongside, or just under 
the edge of the trail. Depending on the volume of 
drainage needed, more than one pipe may be laid in the 
trench. Multiple pipes are placed directly adjacent to 
one another, or with a slight interval in between. The 
pipes may terminate at another drainage feature, like 
a culvert or stream that crosses under the trail, or the 
pipes themselves may cross under the trail, terminating 
on the trail's downslope side. When crossing under the 
trail, the pipe is simply bent to a 90-degree angle and 
directed to the other side of the trail. 

In another, more common, application, perforated- 
pipe drains are used simply as cross-drains for seepage. 
In this case, the pipe terminates just beyond the edge of 
the trail on either side, as described below. 

In either case, individual pipes or groups of pipes 
are laid into a bed of clean, crushed, or round stone 
between 1 and 3 inches diameter. The bed of stone 
should surround the pipe or pipes by at least 3 inches 
on each side. To prevent the pipe from silting, the 
entire bed of gravel and pipe is covered on the top and 

ACAD NP-BaUytja/Bailw 

Fig. 4-30 Detail of a perforated-pipe drain. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

sides with geotextile material. Geotextile material is 
not needed underneath the pipe. At least 4 inches of 
material, either soil or gravel, should be placed above 
the geotextile to prevent frost heave and to hold it and 
the pipe in place. 

Either end of the pipe may be buried in a bed of clean 
crush, tucked between stones of a sidewall or retaining 
wall, or protected by a header roughly like those used 
for pipe culverts. If the header is off trail, it need not 
conform to any grade line and will be easier to build. 
Crush that covers the end of a perforated pipe should 
not be revegetated as wall-less causeway is, but rather 
left clean, with only a good strip of sod used along the 
trail edge to retain gravel. Pipes should not terminate 
partway across the trail. 


1. Subsurface drains are often completely hidden, 
and the clues that reveal them to a crew six months 
after construction will often be gone a few years 
down the road. Therefore, careful logs must be 
kept of their locations for future maintenance. 

2. Drains leading into and out of subsurface drains 
must be kept clean. 

3. The ends of the pipes, which are all that are acces- 
sible, should be checked annually for clogs or frac- 
tures. Stones set in front of the openings should be 
removed for checking and cleaning, and then put 
back in place. 

4. Standing water on the uphill side of a subsurface 
drain, or scouring of the trail above a subsurface 
drain indicate a problem underneath the ground. 
In most cases, stones obscuring the ends of the 
pipe can be removed, and a stick or tool handle 
used to clean out the pipe. If problems can't be 
resolved by cleaning, the drain must be excavated 
and the cause of the failure resolved. Possible rea- 
sons for failure include clogging, a crushed pipe, or 
insufficient pipe area for the volume of water. 



A side drain is an open drain that runs parallel to the 
trail and collects water before it reaches the treadway. 
The collected water runs parallel to the trail on one or 
both sides of the treadway, usually crossing or flowing 
under the trail through a culvert. 

A side drain is generally located directly adjacent to the 
side of the trail and built as a part of the overall con- 
struction of the treadway. However, it may be located 
10 or more feet from the trail, in which case it may be 
called "off-trail drainage." A side drain may be stone- 
lined, a simple earthen ditch, or the drainage path cre- 
ated by the construction of raised tread. 

Three types of side drains are used at Acadia. Walled 
side drains and fully constructed side drains are fully 
or partially constructed of stone, while earthen ditches 
have no associated stone elements. 

A walled side drain is a partially constructed drainage 
channel consisting of a stone wall on the side adjacent 
to the trail, and no construction on the side of the drain 
away from the trail. The stone wall may be a single or 
multi-tiered wall. The wall retains the tread and ensures 
the integrity of the drain. The floor of the drain may be 
flat-laid stones, packed stone rubble, or earth. 

A fully constructed side drain is one in which both 
sides and the floor of the drainage are laid stone. The 
drain may have two vertical sides, like an open culvert, 
or be "V-shaped" (example on the Beech Mountain 
West Ridge Trail, #108) or "U-shaped" (example on the 
Emery Path, #15). 

A ditch is a simple drain that collects and directs water 
adjacent or near the side. Ditches can be constructed 
more quickly, but are more susceptible to scouring and 
collapse. The practice of ditch and fill can be used to 
restore a wet area by ditching along one or both sides of 
the treadway to create drains, and using the excavated 


Chapter 4: Drainage; C. Side Drains 

material on the trail as fill, creating a raised treadway. 
Examples of this technique can be seen on the Western 
Mountain Trail (#120). 

Off-trail drainage refers to ditches constructed away 
from the trail, sometimes as far away as 100 feet or 
more. These are generally used to connect tributaries 
or concentrate sheet flow into a single drainage path in 
order to reduce the need for side drains alongside the 
trail itself. 



There is no evidence or documentation of side drain 
use prior to the VIA/VIS era. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Side drains of various types were included on many 
early VIA/VIS graveled trails. The Red/Schooner 
Head Road Path (#362) is a raised treadway. Though 
no ditches are now visible, regularly spaced culverts 
demonstrate the anticipation that sheet water would 
collect and run along the inside of the treadway. The 
Jordan Pond Seaside Path (#401) appears to have some 
walled side drains created by the raised treadway, and 
the Asticou Trail (#49) has sunken walled side drains 
with stone-lined bottoms (Fig. 4-31). These trails used 
side drains with culverts to drain water both perpen- 
dicular to and parallel with the treadway. There is also 
evidence of historic off- trail drainage on the Jordan 
Pond Path (#39). 

Some later VIA/VIS trails used side drainage in con- 
junction with causeway, including the southern part of 
the Kane Path (#17) and the Jesup Path (#14). How- 
ever, there is little use of side drains on the stone paths, 
with a few notable exceptions, such as short sections 
of walled side drains on the Gurnee Path (#352) and 
Emery Path (#15), and the fully constructed "U- 
shaped" drain at the base of the Emery Path (#15). This 
features shown in a 1916 photo and is part of the trail's 
original construction, although it was once believed to 
be a CCC addition. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

The CCC made extensive use of all types of side drains 
on nearly all their trails. The Perpendicular Trail 
(#119) uses walled side drains (Fig. 4-32). The Valley 
Trail (#116) and Ocean Path (#3) combine raised tread 
with ditching. The V-shaped drain was introduced to 
the system by the CCC, and the two examples of its 
use are on the Beech Cliff Loop Trail (#114) and the 
Beech Mountain West Ridge Trail (#108) (Fig. 4-33). It 
seems certain that the Valley Cove Trail (#105) had no 
side drains, or other drainage features except for two 
culverts. This trail and portions of the Long Pond Trail 
(#118) have been degraded due to the lack of drainage 
features, while the Perpendicular Trail (#119) has main- 
tained its integrity thanks in part to adequate drainage. 

NPS/Mission 66 

Mission 66 used ditching with raised treadway on the 
Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127) and Anemone Cave 
Trail (#369). 

National Park Service 

Ditch and fill was used by the NPS crew in the 1990s to 
restore miles of chronically wet treadway. The result 
in many cases was a smooth, dry walking surface with 
effective side drainage on one or both sides of the trail. 

Fig. 4-31 An original VIA/VIS side drain on the Asticou Trail. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 4-32 A walled side drain along a stone cliff face on the 
Perpendicular Trail (#119). 

Water in the ditches is diverted away from the trail 
when possible, or else across the trail with stone water 
bars or open stone culverts. Trails rehabilitated in this 
way include the Western Mountain Trail (#120), the 
Cadillac South Ridge Trail (#26), the upper portion of 
the Long Pond Trail (#118), and Deer Brook Trail (#51) 
near the intersection with the Jordan Pond Path (#39) 
(Figs. 4-34 & 4-35). 

Fig. 4-34 Ditch and fill work with an open stone culvert on the 
Long Pond Trail (#118). 

Fig. 4-33 A CCC-era "V-shaped" side drain along the Beech 
Mountain West Ridge Trail (#108). 

Fig. 4-35 Ditch and fill on Deer Brook Trail (#51) with tread 
constructed of material taken from the ditch. Sides of the 
ditch are sloped and the ditch (in foreground) has been angled 


Chapter 4: drainage; C. Side Drains 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

There is no evidence or documentation for side drain use. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Side drains and ditches were used in early VIA/VIS work. 
These were generally not highly constructed. Side drains 
were occasionally used on memorial or other highly- 
crafted VIA/VIS trails. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

The CCC relied on highly constructed side drains and 
ditches to rehabilitate old trails and for new construction. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Side drains and ditches were used with pipe culverts, but 
they were not highly crafted. Little effort was taken to 
preserve extant side drains during rehabilitation of older 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Ditch and fill was the preferred type of side drain, with 
little or no use of highly constructed side drains or ditches. 
Exceptions included rehabilitation of preexisting historic 


1. Trail Widening 

Issue: The addition of side drains widens the original 
corridor of a trail, and creates the need for culverts or 
subsurface drains to carry water across the trail. 

widening of the trail corridor is an acceptable compro- 
mise to ensure the preservation of the trail's structural 

However, in certain situations, the widening of the 
trail corridor that results from the construction of 
side drains is unacceptable, such as when important 
natural trail-side features, such as large boulders or 
trees, would have to be removed. In these cases, other 
options should be considered including off-trail drain- 
age, subsurface drainage, or durable tread such as stone 

2. Durability 

Issue: Ditches and walled side drains without con- 
structed floors, though often historically accurate, can 
collapse or scour when subjected to heavy flows. 

Treatment Guidelines: Existing historical side drains 
should be rehabilitated to retain the character with 
which they were built. However, in some cases extra 
construction is required. In general, stone bottoms 
should be restored or added to all side drains showing 
signs of collapse or scouring. This will prevent stones 
along the side from being undermined by moving 
water. In most cases, crushed rock can be pounded into 
the bottom of a drain to prevent scouring, and as the 
rock silts in it will be obscured and the drain will appear 
unconstructed. Native rock should be used for this 
application since some of it may be visible. 


Treatment Guidelines: In many places where they 
were never constructed, side drains are needed in 
order to rehabilitate and preserve graveled paths and 
other trails with a historical standard of uninterrupted 
treadway. The introduction of side drains, often by 
means of building a causeway, is considered the most 
acceptable drainage alternative for gravel paths whose 
drainage problems cannot be solved with dips. On the 
Long Pond Trail (#118), for instance, side drains will be 
a necessary component in the rehabilitation of many 
yards of washed-out treadway. Generally, the resulting 

1. Walled Side Drains (Figs. 4-36 & 4-37) 

The drainage path of a typical walled side drain should 
be at least 8 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Walled 
side drains may include either a wall with a single tier of 
stones, or a wall with multiple tiers. 

Wall stones on the trail side of a side drain should be set 
well below the bottom of the drain, at least 3 inches, to 
withstand scouring. Walls should be built according to 
specifications for walled causeway described in Chap- 
ter 3, Section B. The contact between stones should be 



at tread height or above to prevent gravel from washing 
out of the tread and/or silting the drain. 

In walled side drains, the bottom is reinforced with 
either laid or crushed stone. If the drain is steep or car- 
ries an excessive amount of fast-moving water, checks 
should be added to the floor of the drainage to avoid 
scouring and the subsequent loss of sidewall (see Chap- 
ter 6, Section A ). 

2. Fully Constructed Side Drains (Fig. 4-38) 

V-shaped side drains consist of two, single-tiered stone 
walls set at a 1:1 slope so their bases come together at 
roughly a 90-degree angle, forming a V shape between 
the opposing stones. Flat, rectangular stones are rec- 
ommended. To avoid separation between stones, the 
bottoms of the stones in one wall should rest on the 
stones in the opposite wall. All stones should contact 
abutting stones at their tops. Joints between stones 
should be staggered with joints in the opposing wall. 

Fig. 4-36 A walled side drain installed on the Jordan Pond Path 
(#39) along new walled causeway in 2001. Temporary wood 
planks cover the new open stone culvert. 

Rocks overlap 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 

Fig. 4-38 Detail of a fully constructed "V-shaped" side drain. 

Floor of drain is laid 
or crushed rock or 
checked soil 

Fig. 4-37 Detail of a walled side drain. 

Rocks are headers with 
high contact between them 

Rocks are sloped in and 
largely covered by gravel 

Wall locked below floor of drain 

Subgrade to 2" 
below grade 


Chapter 4: Drainage; D. Water Bars 

Target dimensions for a V-shaped drain are 2 feet wide 
and 1 foot deep. An example of a V-shaped side drain 
can be seen on the Beech Mountain West Ridge Trail 



U-shaped side drains consist of a shallow drain with 
a curved bottom that is reinforced by laid stone. The 
drain should be at least three times as wide as it is deep. 
The stones may be either square or rounded stones, 
but they should form a relatively smooth surface for 
the water to traverse, and should provide a continuous 
stone surface. Beware of excessive slope in the sides of 
the drain as small stones will fall easily into the drain 

3. Ditches 

The sides of a ditch should be sloped to avoid collapse 
with a batter no steeper than 1:1 slope. In loose soils, the 
sides should be dug at an even lower grade. In no case 
should the side of a ditch be vertical after construction. 
Due to the batter of their sides, ditches will always be at 
least twice as wide as they are deep. A typical size for a 
ditch is 8 inches deep and 16 inches wide. 


1. Clean all side drains annually. When cleaning, 
make sure to maintain the correct shape and not to 
eat away at the bottom corners of an unlined ditch. 
A ditch cleaned so that it has vertical walls will cave 
in. Likewise, make sure the bottom of a stone-lined 
side drain is not dug out so deep as to compromise 
walls partially buried beneath it. 

2. Repair any dilapidated stonework in keeping with 
the specifications above. 

3. If repeated scouring occurs at the base of unlined 
side drains or ditches, it is likely that the water flow 
is too heavy and moving too fast for an earthen 
bottom. Line the ditch or drain with crushed 
stone, or tile it with flat laid stones. The floors of 
graded drains that show signs of scouring should 
be treated with checks, just as a tread surface (see 
Chapter 6, Section A.) 

A water bar is a structure consisting of a depression 
crossing a treadway which is reinforced by a log or row 
of abutting stones on the downhill side. The main func- 
tion of a water bar is to divert water that is flowing on 
a sloped treadway. Stone water bars consist of a row of 
abutting stones. Log water bars use a single log for rein- 
forcement. A backed water bar is a water bar "backed" 
or held in place by steps or checks constructed below it 
to help retain the water bar on steep grades (Figs. 4-39 

Fig. 4-39 A recently constructed stone water bar on the Pond 
Trail (#20), located between the motor road and the Jordan Pond 
Path (#39). 

Fig. 4-40 A series of log water bars on the Jordan Pond Carry 
Spur (#40). 




The history of water bars in Acadia is uncertain. In the 

early 1970s, Acadia Trails Foreman Gary Stellpflug first 

observed stone and log water bars on the trails, though 

many have been built since then. These early water bars 

possibly dated to three periods of construction, though 

there is no historical documentation or 

photographs to support this inference. 

On several trails built by the VIA/VIS, 

including the Pond Trail (#20), Jordan 

Pond Carry Path (#38), and the Bowl 

Trail (#8), there were stone water bars 

appearing to be very old. They were 

all similar in construction with small, 

square stones set with flush tops. Some 

of these features are still extant on the 

Pond Trail (#20). Other VIA/VIS trails, 

including the Asticou Trail (#49) and 

Bernard Mountain South Face Trail 

(#111), had log water bars, which may 

have been added by the CCC or later 


and '60s, when there was not much trail maintenance. 
Since 1990, most of these water bars, constructed with 
thin logs too short to span the treadway, and set at poor 
angles, have gradually been replaced with stone water 
bars. Many new water bars have been built, often on 
trails that previously had none, and nearly all of these 
have been stone. A contemporary alternative, water 

Stellpflug found only log water bars on 
CCC trails, including the Long Pond 
Trail (#118) and the Beech Cliff Loop 
(#114). This observation is supported 
by Arthur's CCC trail construction 
manual, which contains specifications 
for the construction of log water bars 
(Fig. 4-41). Log water bars were also 
used by the Mission 66 crew on sections 
2 and 3 of the Beech Mountain Loop 
Trail (#113), and in at least one place on 
the Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127). 
However, it is impossible to determine 
how old these were in the 1970s, and, in 
the case of wood water bars, whether 
those in existence were replacements of 
original features. 

Some of the log water bars observed 
by Stellpflug were poorly constructed 
and may have dated to the 1940s, '50s 


D-Trail sifting up above the ytaterbreak 
Pitch too flat 

E-Trail cutting out behind the waterbreak 
Pitch too steep 



Fig. 4-41 CCC detail for log water bars or "waterbreaks." (#15), circa 1920. 


Chapter 4: Drainage; D. Water Bars 

dips, was introduced to Acadia in the late 1980s by the 
AMC, and dips have been increasing in number since, 
often as replacements for old log water bars. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

There is no evidence for water bar use. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Stone water bars may have been used on a limited basis. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Log water bars were likely used. Specifications were writ- 
ten for their use. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Log water bars may have been used. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Log and stone water bars were used extensively, often in 
places where they were not historically appropriate. 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: There is uncertainty surrounding the earliest use 
of water bars at Acadia, and whether they are an appro- 
priate feature to use on the trail system. 

Treatment Guidelines: Given the uncertainty sur- 
rounding the origins of Acadia's water bars, their use 
should be limited to trails where they will not adversely 
affect the historic character. The general rule of thumb 
is that water bars should not be added to trails that 
use other historic drainage features to serve the same 
purpose — for instance, side drains and culverts. For 
example, the character of the VIA/VIS-era Emery Path 
(#15) or the CCC-era Perpendicular Trail (#119) should 
never be confused by the addition of water bars. On the 
other hand, water bars may be used on trails without 
substantial character-defining features. 


In deciding whether a trail has a reached the thresh- 
old beyond which water bars should not be added, 
the primary consideration should be given to extant 
drainage features. A trail whose only historical work is 
stone culverts is not a candidate for water bars, whereas 
a trail whose only historical work is a stone staircase, 
such as the Mansell Mountain Trail (#115), would be. 
Those trails with historical water bars should be reha- 
bilitated using water bars where appropriate. In such 
cases, care must be taken that new water bars resemble 
the old both in type (log or stone) and in the details of 
construction (Fig. 4-42). 

On those trails where water bars have been deemed 
appropriate, but history has not dictated which type 
to construct, stone water bars will be the first option. 
Stone is more durable than wood, and closer in charac- 
ter to most of the historical features on Acadia's trails. 
The exceptional cases in which wood water bars may 
be added as a feature are those in which no stone is 
available within a circumference of 200 feet. This is not 
only because of the difficulties involved with the trans- 
port of stone, but because a stone water bar looks out 
of sync with nature in areas where trees and forest floor 
are the only natural features visible to the hiker. 

The function of water bars is to collect water that is 
channeled in the treadway, and direct it away from the 
trail. To accomplish this, some amount of grade (at least 
5 percent) is required for water bars to be functional, 
as they require the water to be in motion in order to 
redirect the flow away from the trail. Standing water 
problems cannot be resolved with water bars. On the 
other hand, water bars built on unconstructed trail with 
a grade over 20 percent will continually silt in and clog, 
or else erode away altogether. Such sections require 
that steps or checks be used in conjunction with, or 
instead of, water bars. 

Since water bars and water dips (see below) both per- 
form similar functions— redirecting water that is using 
the treadway as a channel — a decision about which 
structure to build must often be made. Three factors 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

must be considered: (1) historical character, (2) desired 
walking surface, and (3) grade. Because they are more 
subtle, dips are often an alternative for trails on which 
history precludes the building of a water bar. Further, 
dips allow the maintenance of a smooth — even wheel- 
chair-accessible—hiking surface, while water bars 
create small steps for the hiker. However, dips are not 
an option for grades above 12 percent. On such slopes, 
they lose their shape more quickly than water bars and 
need additional maintenance. 

On slopes where grade is more than 15 percent, backed 
water bars should be considered, especially in loose 
gravel or light soils. 

After deciding a water bar is necessary and appropri- 
ate, the next question is exactly where to install it. The 
Student Conservation Association trail guide, Lightly on 
the Land, offers some good advice: 

In determining where to place a water bar, select a site 
where travelers will be discouraged from going around 
the ends of the bar. A tree or boulder can be a good bar- 
rier. If no natural barriers present themselves, embed a 
few large stones near one or both ends of the water bar 
to direct traffic toward the center of the trail. 19 

CCC specifications said the following about placement 
and spacing: 

The spacing of breakers cannot be determined by any 
rule, but there are three particular locations where they 
should be placed: (1) Where there is a depression or 
wash, the breaker should be set below, (2) On sharp 
curves, the breaker should be set at the uphill entrance 
of the curve; and (3) At changes in the trail grade, the 
breaker should be set just above the break in grade. 20 

The water bar consists of three elements: the bar, the 
apron, and the outlet ditch. 

Gentle mound behind 
bar is flush with 
tops of rocks 

High contact between rocks 

Outflow ditch 

Rocks at least 1 2" tall 
and buried at least 6" 
into ground; header-style 
is strongest (no toast) 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 

Fig. 4-42 Detail of a typical stone water bar. 


Chapter 4: Drainage; D. Water bars 

1. Bar 

A general description water bar construction is given in 
the SCA trail-building guide: 

Angled across the trail, the bar stabilizes the apron and 
serves as the barrier of last resort to redirect water that 
has not been turned from the tread by outsloping. The 
factors determining the angle of a water bar in relation 
to the tread are the grade of the trail and the velocity of 
the water that will approach the barrier. On gentle trails, 
a bar set at a 20 to 30 degree angle may be enough. On 
steeper routes where the speed of the water may wash 
out barriers embedded at shallow angles, bars may need 
to be set at angles of 45 degrees or more. The smaller the 
angle, the less material will be required to build the bar- 
rier and the easier it will be for travelers to step across. 
Water slowed by bars without much of an angle may 
drop silt against the barrier, while bars set at sharper 
angles may be self-cleaning because the water moves 
past them quickly enough to carry silt off the trail. 21 

Whether log or stone, when properly installed and 
graded, the top of the bar should be flush with surface 
on the downhill side of the water bar. 

Stone Water Bar: The bar in a stone water bar is a row 
of abutting stones set in a trench at the appropriate 
angle (see above). The bar should be set into the back- 
slope on the uphill side of the trail at least 12 inches and 
extend at least to the edge of the treadway on the outlet 
side, where it meets the outlet ditch. The bar as a unit 
should sit about 2 inches above the level of the tread 
before it is trenched or backfilled; after building the 
dip, the bar should be at least 6 inches above the lowest 
point in the swale, and level with the highest point of 
the backfill behind the bar. 

Each stone in the bar should have at least half of its 
mass completely buried, which means that each must 
be at least 12 inches in vertical height. Other dimensions 
may vary, as long as the combination of overall mass 
and sturdiness of set stones yield a row that does not 
budge underfoot, even when jumped upon by a large 
person. Stones should be set in their most stable posi- 
tion, which is with the main portion of the weight down 
and buried in the trench and with the weight low (in a 

"cake" or "header" style) rather than upright ("toast" 

Contact between stones should be as high as possible, 
and within an inch of the top of the bar. Low contact 
is not necessary, but gaps between stones at their bases 
should be chinked, and the chinks locked in with the 
gravel or stone at the base water bar. 

Stones should be laid so water sheds well from one to 
the next as it moves from the top to the bottom of the 
water bar. Techniques to achieve this effect vary. The 
AMC depicts cake-style stones set with flush faces 
along the inside of the drainage, and thinner, toast-style 
stones set overlapping, like shingles on a roof, with the 
downhill side of the uphill stone overlapping the top 
edge of the one below it. Lester Kenway at Baxter State 
Park in Maine sets his stones so that the line of contact 
between each points back uphill, and does not worry 
about flushness between them, as water would have 
to turn in between the stones and actually flow uphill 
to get through the row of stones. Header style is also 
appropriate. All of these techniques have been used 
with success at Acadia, provided the other rules are 

The top of the bar should provide a walkable surface, 
which almost always results if the rules of high contact 
of stones are observed. The hiker should have at least 
one flat surface 12 inches wide to step on, and ideally, 
the top of the entire bar will be a single, fiat unit. Avoid 
tripping hazards caused by round stones without high 
contact, stones that slope dramatically to the front or 
back of the bar, and stones with vertical protrusions. 
As with a retaining wall, the area directly in front of 
and behind the bar should be packed with stone, rather 
than just filled in with soil that could erode and allow 
stones to loosen. 

Wood Bar: The bar in a wood water bar is a single log, 
set at the appropriate angle, that extends at least 12 
inches into the backslope, and to the edge of the trail 
or beyond it on the downhill side where it meets the 
outlet ditch. The log should be cedar, at least 8 inches 
in diameter. If it is not possible to key the bottom of 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

the log against a natural feature, a stone should be set 
in the ground at the end of the log to hold it in place. 
Staking water bars is not done at Acadia. On the water- 
shedding side, the dip in the water bar should expose 
between 4 and 6 inches of the total diameter of the log. 

2. Apron 

The apron is the dip on the uphill side of the bar that 
directs most of the water off the trail before it reaches 
the bar itself. The apron is funnel shaped, the top of 
the funnel being on the side of the backslope, and the 
outlet of the funnel being at the outlet ditch. The apron 
begins sloping toward the outlet ditch about 5 feet back 
from the bar, and reverses trail grade to slope up to the 
bar about a foot from it. Except in times of very heavy 
flow or poor maintenance, water does not travel along 
the bar, but down the bottom of the apron's dip to the 
outlet ditch. The total depth of the dip in the apron 
(measured from the top of the bar) should be between 
6 and 12 inches, depending on the overall size of the 
water bar. 

3. Outlet Ditch 

The SCA describes the outlet ditch: 

Complete the water bar by digging an outlet ditch from 
the low point of the apron far enough to assure that 
water will be carried away from the trail. Steep sides- 
lopes may not require ditches at all, while a water bar 
ditch on a moderate hillside may extend several yards or 
more. Cut each ditch wider than the blade of a shovel to 
facilitate easy maintenance in years to come. On steeper 
slopes, stones placed below the end of the ditch will 
dissipate the force of exiting water and help protect the 
downslope from erosion. 22 

The ends of outlet ditches should be graded into the 
landscape, not ended at a blockage or simply stopped 
so that there is a sudden step up at the end of the ditch; 
such terminations encourage blockage and backup that 
eventually can clog the entire drainage. 


1. Water bars should be cleaned annually, and, if 
possible, following severe storms. During clean- 
ing, the original, gradual funnel shape of the apron 
should be restored and the outlet ditch dug out as 
far as necessary to ensure that water leaves the trail 
and does not reenter. Care must be taken not to dig 
the apron too deep; the bar should never be fully 
exposed on the drainage side. Regrade the end of 
the outlet ditch so that water can smoothly exit. 
With soil tread trails, material dug from the ditch 
should be used to back up the water bar; in the case 
of gravel tread, only gravel from the apron cleaning 
can be used in the treadway. In any case, do not use 
material larger than 2 inches in diameter. Reshape 
the grade behind the bar. 

2. Water bars that continually fill with silt should be 
reset at a steeper angle. Those that scour to the 
point of undermining the bar should be reset at a 
shallower angle. 

3. For stone water bars, reset any loose stones. 

4. For log water bars, check logs for rot, and replace 
them when they are no longer solid enough to 
retain the shape of the apron. The life expectancy 
for an 8-inch cedar log bar is thirty years. 


Chapter 4: Drainage; E. Water Dips 




A water dip is an angled depression in the trail that 
diverts water off the trail. 

Dips add little to, and take little from, a trail's character. 
Just slightly more visible than subsurface drains, their 
subtlety is their most important asset in the way of 
character. If built correctly (long and shallow), they are 
virtually unnoticed by most hikers, and of little inter- 
ruption to the prevailing appearance of a trail corridor. 
They can also be incorporated into ADA trails. 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: Water dips are not a feature associated with the 

historical period for Acadia's trails. 

Treatment Guidelines: Although not a historical 
feature, water dips are an appropriate feature for use 
at Acadia. When constructed correctly, water dips do 
not adversely impact a trail's historical character. Water 
dips are the least intrusive of the treadway drains, 
which include water bars and open culverts. Water 
dips should be the first consideration for those trails 
without an established feature for removing substantial 
amounts of water from the treadway. In particular, dips 
are an appropriate solution for mild erosion problems 
on graveled paths (such as the Ocean Path, #3, or the 
Jordan Pond Path, #39). 

Water dips were introduced to Acadia's trail system 
in the 1980s by the AMC. In the 1990s, they were used 
extensively as a drainage technique on nearly every trail 
in Acadia, often as replacements for wood water bars. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

There is no evidence or documentation for water dip use 
during any of the historic periods. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

There is no evidence or documentation for water dip use 
during any of the historic periods. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

There is no evidence or documentation for water dip use 
during any of the historic periods. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

There is no evidence or documentation for water dip use 
during any of the historic periods. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Water dips were first used in the 1980s. 

Water dips should not be used if: 

• The soil will not hold its shape, such as exception- 
ally rocky or clay-poor soil. 

• The trail has a grade of greater than 20 percent. 

• The flow of water, due to volume, speed, or a com- 
bination of the two, is sufficient to wash the dip 

• The frequency and nature of foot traffic would flat- 
ten the dip before it could reasonably be rebuilt. 

In any of the above cases, water bars, steps, checks, 
stone paving, side drainage, and rerouting may all be 


The entrance into a water dip starts at the prevail- 
ing grade, and then the grade accelerates slightly 
toward the low point of the dip. The dip is angled 
slightly downslope to direct water off of the trail at 
a "spill point." 23 The grade then is reversed, rising 
approximately 1 foot in elevation, and then resumes the 
downhill at the prevailing trail slope. Exact sizes and 
shapes of water dips will vary with terrain. However, 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

a good target is laid out in Hooper's handbook 24 (Fig. 
4-43). The entrance should be 10 feet long, the reversal 
in grade 5 feet long at a 10-percent slope. As in a water 
bar, a target angle for the depression should be 45 
degrees and should be adjusted according to whether 
the dip silts-in (increase the angle) or scours (decrease 
the angle and/or replace with another type of drainage). 
Slopes into, out of, and back down the trail below the 
dip should be long and gradual in order to maintain 
the shape of the dip, provide ease of hiking, and remain 
visually unobtrusive. 

The "spill point" should empty off the trail at a point 
where water cannot reenter the treadway, or should 
empty into an outlet ditch that will carry the water to a 
place where it cannot reenter the treadway. 


12 Bar Harbor VIA 1891 Annual Report. 

13 Bar Harbor VIA 1899 Annual Report. 

14 Bar Harbor VIA 1906 Annual Report. 

15 Seal Harbor VIS 1937 Annual Report. 

16 Seal Harbor VIS 1952 Annual Report. 

17 Albert H. Good, Park and Recreation Structures (National Park 
Service, 1938), 17-18. 

18 Bar Harbor VIA 1901 Annual Report. 

19 Robert C. Birkby, Lightly on the Land: The SCA Trail-Building and 
Maintenance Manual (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1996), 132. 

20 Guy B. Arthur, Civilian Conservation Corps Field Training: 
Construction of Trails (1937). 

21 Birkby, 131-32. 

22 Birkby, 132. 

23 Birkby, 131. 

24 Lennon Hooper, NPS Trails Management Handbook (Denver: 
United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 
no date), 29. 


1. Water dips should be cleaned annually, and, if 
possible, following severe storms. During clean- 
ing, the original, gradual shape of the dip should 
be restored and the outlet ditch dug out as far as is 
necessary to ensure that water leaves the trail and 
does not reenter. Care must be taken 

not to dig the depression too deep. 
Regrade the ends of outlet ditches so 
that water can smoothly exit. With soil 
trails, material dug from the depression 
should be used to back up the water dip, 
rebuilding the reversal in grade. Do not 
use material larger than 2 inches. 

2. Dips that continually fill with silt should 
be rebuilt at a steeper angle. Those 
that scour should be reset at a shal- 
lower angle, or, if the flow is too great, 
replaced with water bars or another 
form of drainage. Those dips that flat- 
ten or are routinely overrun should, if 
already built properly, be replaced with 
another form of drainage. 


grade dips 



Fig. 4-43 Detail of a typical water dip. 


Fig. 5-1 The Bar Harbor VIA constructed many small gravel-surfaced bridges as stream crossings in the Sieur de Monts area like this one 
across Kebo Brook on the Stratheden Path (#24), circa 1916. 







Acadia Trails treatment Plan 


As one of the most essential and appealing 
features along a trail, crossings require careful 
attention to hiker safety and style of con- 
struction. At Acadia, three categories of features are 
used to cross streams, wet areas, and areas with fragile 
vegetation or difficult footing. 

A. Bogwalks 

B. Bridges 

C. Stepping Stones 

From the 1890s to the 1980s, the construction style of 
crossings shifted from aesthetics to durability. With a 
rehabilitation approach, the preservation of existing 
crossings or new construction will balance the need to 
retain historic picturesque and rustic crossings while 
providing for higher use. In some cases this will result 
in greater construction costs and increased mainte- 
nance. For example, natural cedar poles may be speci- 
fied for bridges rather than pre-cut, pressure-treated 
planks. The type of crossing is determined by the trail's 
historical character and current needs. Bogwalks are 
not historical, and are less durable than other features. 
However, they may still be the first choice for tra- 
versing boggy ground, especially in areas with many 
exposed roots, or where construction of other features 
would be detrimental to adjacent resources. Bridges 
have historically been used to cross large drainages 
with steep banks and remain appropriate additions to 
the trail system (Fig. 5-1). The use of stepping stones 
continues to be an option for crossing shallow streams, 
consistently boggy ground, or areas that are intermit- 
tently wet. 

Note: Narrow stream crossings are often achieved 
with culverts, while longer sections of trail through a 
drainage may be a constructed causeway, as described 
in Chapters 3 and 4. 



A bogwalk is a wooden walkway providing a raised, 
even, and dry tread. It is used to traverse wet or boggy 
areas, eroded trail sections with many exposed roots, 
and areas containing fragile vegetation. 

The walking surface of a bogwalk consists of one or 
more treadlogs. These have been milled flat on two 
sides, are laid parallel with the trail, and are supported 
on each end by a bedlog, or short log set perpendicu- 
lar to the trail. The bedlogs may rest directly on the 
ground, or may be supported by individual stones, or 
log piers. 

Log piers are enclosed support structures built of logs 
and serve the same function as bridge piers: to support 
and elevate bogwalk between sections. Log piers are 
sometimes referred to as "log cribs," but should not be 
confused with retaining structures described in Chap- 
ter 6. A pier may contain three or four sides with the 
logs notched together, "Lincoln Log" style (Fig. 5-2). 

A bogwalk bridge is a hybrid between a bogwalk and 
a bridge and is used to cross small streams. It differs 
from regular bogwalk in two ways. Bogwalk bridges 
are wider and generally contain three parallel tread- 

Fig. 5-2 A bogwalk bridge supported by a log crib on the Pond 
Trail (#20). 


Chapter 5: Crossings; A. Bogwalks 

logs. They are also positioned higher above the sur- 
rounding grade and are supported by log cribs, stone 
abutments, or piers. 


Stream Path (#65) where planks were used by the 
SHVIS (Figs. 5-3 & 5-4). 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

There is no physical evidence or documentation of 
bogwalk construction on CCC trails. 


There is no physical evidence or documentation of 
bogwalks on trails prior to the VIA/VIS period. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

When the Bar Harbor VIA began constructing trails in 
the 1890s they laid down "cedar-pole bridges" across 
wet areas. Path Committee Chairman Waldron Bates 
instructed workers to" [d] rain wet places or put in 
stepping stones, or place cedar-pole bridges on the 
ground." 25 

On many VIA/VIS trails the raised gravel treadway 
eventually washed away, leaving the original boggy 
trail base. On pondside trails, an elevated water 
level caused by beaver dams aggravated this prob- 
lem, or created a new one. These factors, coupled 
with increased foot traffic, resulted in extensive wet 
and eroded trail sections with compacted soils and 
exposed roots. Thus many pondside and woodland 
trails described by the VIA/VIS as offering scenic and 
easy walking became some of the most difficult and 
unattractive. Annual VIA/VIS reports suggest a prefer- 
ence for stepping stones and causeway solutions for 
these wet areas. Examples include the stepping stones 
on the Kane Path (#17), and the stepping stones, raised 
tread, and closed culverts on the Asticou Path (#49) 
and the Jordan Pond Loop Trail (#39). 

The VIA/VIS later used corduroy tread and bridges 
(a tread consisting of continuously laid parallel logs). 
Outside park boundaries, the Seal Harbor VIS and 
Northeast Harbor VIS used different types of log 
crossings through wet areas as early as the 1930s or 
1940s. Examples of this work appeared on the Upper 
Hadlock Trail (#501), where the NHVIS used a bog- 
walk similar to a corduroy bridge, and on the Jordan 

Fig. 5-3 This bogwalk on the Upper Hadlock Pond Trail (#501), 
shown here in 1967, was likely built by the Northeast Harbor 
VIS in the 1930s or 1940s. This bogwalk is more similar to a 
bridge, with its stringers and corduroy decking, than it is to the 
contemporary style of bogwalk used in Acadia. 

Fig. 5-4 This 1990s plank bogwalk (possibly 2-by-6-inch lumber) 
on private land on the Jordan Stream Path (#65) may be Seal 
Harbor VIS construction. 



NPS/Mission 66 

Bogwalks were not used by the NPS during the Mission 
66 era. 

National Park Service 

Bogwalks as they exist within the park boundaries 
today were introduced to Acadia in the early 1980s by 
Trails Foreman Gary Stellpflug. He adapted the design 
from bogwalks designed by Lester Kenway in Maine's 
Baxter State Park. The bogwalks were first used on a 
reroute at the northernmost bend of the Long Pond 
Trail (#118). These were constructed in 1982 and were 
still extant at the time of this report. In 1988, extensive 
bogwalk construction began on the west side of the 
Jordan Pond Loop Trail (#39). Since the work in the 
1980s, bogwalk has been used throughout the park as 
a solution to wet or eroded trails in flat areas and near 
ponds (Figs. 5-5 to 5-7). 

In 1994, a bogwalk bridge was constructed on the east 
end of the Pond Trail (#20). Since that time, several of 

Fig. 5-5 Log bogwalks, like these single-treadlog examples, were 
first introduced to the Acadia system in the 1980s to stabilize 
tread in wet areas on the Great/Long Pond Trail (#118). 

Fig. 5-6 Bogwalks are an effective, easily constructed way to 
provide stable tread over wet or exposed root areas such as on 
the west side of the Jordan Pond Loop Trail (#39). 

Fig. 5-7 Bogwalks are often installed to protect fragile 
vegetation, like this section surrounding The Bowl on the 
Beehive Trail, West (#8). 


Chapter 5: Crossings; A. Bogwalks 

these structures have been built throughout the park, 
ranging in size from a single span on the Jordan Pond 
Carry Path (#38) to an 80-foot-long bridge on the 
Beech Mountain West Ridge Trail (#108) (Figs. 5-8 & 

The first bogwalks in Acadia were logs "topped" with 
a chainsaw and ax, and set side by side on bedlogs or 
cribs. They were generally 8 to 10 feet long. Logs were 
notched flat at the joint and then spiked together. Later, 
larger logs were "ripped" with chainsaws into halves 
whose flat sides were used as tread. In the 1990s, logs 
were cut 16 feet long. The increase in span between 
supports led to a need for a log diameter of 16 inches 
or more. Also, spikes were driven through the sides of 
treadlogs in the middle of the run to connect and thus 
distribute load between the logs. Nonetheless, tread 
spans greater than 12 feet continued to break or sag. 

The most recent evolution in the design of the bogwalk 
came full circle back to Lester Kenway, who now uses 
a modified bogwalk made of logs pre-milled on two 
sides. The advantages of the current method are: 

• increased thickness resulting in additional strength 
and rigidity of the stringers, 

• a subsequent extension in the longevity of the 
bogwalks, and 

• faster, easier construction without a need for 
notching logs in the tread, bedlogs, or cribs. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

No evidence for bogwalk use. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

On early trails, cedar-pole bridges were laid across wet 
areas. On most trails, stepping stones, stone paving, and 
raised tread were predominantly used to solve drainage 
problems. On later trails, corduroy bogwalks were occa- 
sionally used. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Bogwalks were not used. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Bogwalks were not used. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Bogwalks were used extensively in wet areas, over 
exposed roots, and areas with fragile vegetation, particu- 
larly through bogs and on pondside trails. 

Fig. 5-8 A bogwalk bridge with stone supports on the Pond Trail 
(#20). This feature is a hybrid between a bogwalk and a bridge. 

Fig. 5-9 A bogwalk bridge on the Jordan Pond Carry Path (#38). 




1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: Bogwalks were not used consistently during 
the historic periods on Acadia's trails and may not be 
appropriate long-term solutions for crossing wet areas. 

Treatment Guidelines: For non-historic trails, bog- 
walks are an appropriate long-term solution for cross- 
ing wet areas and eroded sections. They may also be 
used long-term on persistently wet or severely eroded 
sections of historic trails when there is no alternate 
solution that is historically appropriate and/or previ- 
ously in use on the trail. If another crossing feature is 
compatible with the trail's historic character, it will 
be used and the long-term use of bogwalk will not be 

8"-18" min. 
(see specs) 

24" min 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 

Fig. 5-10 Detail of a bogwalk on bedlogs. 

Gap between bogwalk 
sections <3" and 
sections are flush 

3rd piece in bottom 
contains rocks and 
adds structural integrity 



to cross 

area and 




Because they are by far the easiest and quickest remedy 
available for crossing wet and eroded areas, bogwalks 
may be used as temporary solutions on both historic 
and non-historic trails until an appropriate crossing 
feature can be constructed. 

2. Maintenance 

Issue: Bogwalk is a more high-maintenance feature 
than a stone structure. Since bogwalks are wooden 
structures, they need to be checked regularly for rot 
and structural damage and replaced cyclically. 

Treatment Guidelines: When considering the use of 
bogwalks, maintenance and longevity are major con- 
cerns that must be included in long-range planning. If 
only used as a short-term solution, cyclic replacement 
of bogwalks should not be a concern, since the bog- 
walk will eventually be replaced with another feature 
type. However, if bogwalks are determined to be the 
best long-term solution for an area, then a schedule of 
periodic replacement in-kind should be developed. 


Bogwalks are constructed of milled white cedar logs. A 
typical section of bogwalk consists of two bedlogs or 
cribs (piers), overlaid with one or two treadlogs (Fig. 

Bogwalk bridges typically contain 
three treadlogs, and may be supported 
by log cribs, stone piers, or abutments 
(Fig. 5-11). Although the construction 
of bogwalks and bogwalk bridges is 
similar, some elements of bogwalk 
bridge construction are more closely 
associated with bridge construc- 
tion. For additional information, see 
"Bridges" in the following section of 
this chapter. 

30" is typical 

Cribs filled with 
rocks too large 
to escape 

ACAD NP-Baltlyga/Batter 

Fig. 5-11 Detail of a bogwalk on log cribs (or piers). 


Chapter 5: Crossings; A. Bogwalks 

Fig. 5-12 Bogwalks with bedlogs laid on stone, installed on the 
west side of the Jordan Pond Path (#39). These treadlogs have 
only one milled side. The preferred method is to mill two sides of 
the treadlog. 

1. Treadlogs (Fig. 5-12) 

The treadlogs are milled leaving a 4-inch-thick log, 
sawn on two sides, and a minimum of 8 inches wide on 
one good surface. The unmilled edges are left "live" 
with bark on. Width of walking surface should be at 
least 8 inches. 

Treadlogs are spiked to bedlogs or cribs with 8-inch 
spikes or timber screws. Treadlogs should cantilever 
no more than 6 inches beyond their supports to avoid 
levering up or, as the wood deteriorates, breaking off. 

The standard walking surface of a bogwalk consists of 
milled logs laid side by side with a flat surface facing 
up. For backcountry bogwalks, a minimum tread width 
is 10 inches. On front-country trails constructed to 
an easier walking standard, such as on sections of the 
Jordan Pond Path (#39) near the Jordan Pond House, 
bogwalks should be up to 18 inches wide. Bogwalks 
elevated more than 1 foot off the ground should have 

Fig. 5-13 Bogwalk construction detail on the Pond Trail (#20). 
Stakes are no longer used to anchor bedlogs due to frost heave. 
Bedlog notching is not needed if the treadlog and bedlog are 
both milled flat on two sides. 

a minimum width of 12 inches, and bogwalks elevated 
2 feet or more should have a minimum width of 18 
inches. The walking surface may be a single treadlog if 
that log is wide enough to meet the width standard, but 
generally two or more treadlogs will be needed. 

On heavily used trails, parallel sections of bogwalk 
should be installed occasionally to allow hikers to pass 
each other without stepping off the tread. Frequency of 
parallel sections will be determined by the number of 

The current recommended length for strength and 
durability is between 8 and 12 feet, though lengths may 
be shorter if needed. Lengths greater than 12 feet are 
not recommended, as rigidity is compromised over 
longer spans. 

Ideally, bogwalks should have no cross-slope and a 
running slope of no greater than five percent. Gentle 
grades may be gained by stepping bogwalk sections 
where they meet, with no step between bogwalk sec- 
tions greater than 6 inches. Gaps between connected 
bogwalk sections should be no greater than 3 inches. 

2. Bedlogs or Piers (Fig. 5-13) 

The treadlogs are supported by individual bedlogs, 
stone piers or abutments, log piers, or a combination 
of these. Bedlogs are sections of the milled logs cut 
30 inches long or greater and set in the ground per- 



pendicular to the trail. The treadlogs are spiked to the 
bedlogs with 8-inch spikes or timber screws. Since both 
the treadlogs and bedlogs are milled flat on two sides, 
notching is not necessary. 



Log piers are used either to elevate the tread or to 
provide a firmer base in areas where bogwalks might 
sink or shift. Piers are constructed with logs, stacked 
in alternating tiers, generally with four sides forming 
a box. Treads are spiked to the top two logs of a pier, 
which function as bedlogs. Piers should be filled with 
rocks to weight them down. To keep piers from riding 
up, a third cross-piece may be placed in the middle of 
the first tier. The spaces between tiers allow water to 

In past applications, bedlogs have been staked into the 
ground to keep the bogwalk from shifting out of place. 
However, this has not proven effective. The stakes tend 
to heave out of the ground during freeze/thaw cycles, 
causing the bogwalk to be displaced. Staking bedlogs is 
therefore unnecessary. The weight of the treadlogs on 
the bedlogs is generally sufficient to keep the bogwalk 
from moving. If needed, large stones can be placed on 
the bedlogs for added weight. 

A bridge is a structure providing passage over an 
impediment such as a waterway, gully, or crevice. 
There are a variety of different components involved in 
constructing a bridge. These are defined below. 

Elements that are used to support bridges include abut- 
ments, sills, piers, and/or log cribs. 

An abutment is a stone or wooden substructure sup- 
porting the ends of a bridge. It may also act as a retain- 
ing feature, preventing tread material from sloughing 
into the stream or drainage. 

A sill is the timber set perpendicular to the trail under 
each end of the bridge. Sills generally rest on top of the 
abutments and serve as a base on which the stringers 
rest. Sills are sometimes called sleepers. 

Piers are support structures between bridge spans. 
They may be constructed of stacked stones, logs, or a 
combination of both. 


1. Inspect for decay and structural integrity. The 
longevity of a bogwalk is generally less than twenty 
years, so a cyclic program of replacement must be 

2. If bogwalks have been moved out of place by ice 
or water, weight the bedlogs down with rocks or 
connect them with rock-filled cribs. Do not use 
stakes to anchor bedlogs, as frost heave will push 
the entire structure off the ground. 

3. If the tread becomes slippery, roughen the surface 
with a chainsaw. 

Log piers or cribs are enclosed support structures built 
of logs. They typically contain three or four sides with 
the logs notched together, "Lincoln Log" style. They 
can be used in single layers, for retention, or stacked in 
tiers and used to support bogwalk and bridges. 

Structural elements of the actual bridge itself include 
stringers, decking, curbrails and/or handrails, and 

Stringers are supporting beams that span the distance 
between abutments or piers. They support the decking 
and are usually made of cedar logs. 

Decking describes the walking surface of the bridge. 
Generally, decking consists of milled cedar boards 
or logs laid perpendicular to the stringers. However, 


Chapter 5: Crossings; B. Bridges 

decking may also be simply one or more split logs laid 
parallel to the trail, forming a narrow footbridge. 
In this case, the split logs act as both stringers and 

Plank, or planking, is a decking type consisting 
of milled cedar boards. This may either be full- 
dimensioned lumber milled especially for a particular 
bridge, or it may be readily available lumber, such as 
five-quarter decking. 

Corduroy decking is composed of cedar logs laid 
side-by-side, perpendicular to the stringers, giving the 
finished treadway a textured or corduroy appearance. 
The decking may be constructed of full-round logs or 
half-round logs. 

Gravel surfacing is an addition to the decking that 
carries the gravel tread material right over the top of 
the bridge. It is constructed by installing a geotextile 
fabric over the decking, which is typically corduroy 
decking, and placing a 4- or 5-inch layer of gravel tread 
material on top. 

Various types of railings and bracing are used with dif- 
ferent bridge types. Depending on the style of bridge 
constructed, one, none, or any combination of these 
features may be added. 

A curbrail, or bullrail is a low barrier, usually not over 
4 inches high, placed along the side edges of the bridge, 
parallel to the treadway. Typically a single log is used. 
This feature serves to guide walkers across the bridge. 
It often provides structural support and is required 
when gravel surfacing is used to retain the gravel tread. 

A handrail is a waist-high barrier, to aid or guide walk- 
ers across the bridge. Individual situations may call for 
no handrail, a single handrail, or one on each side of 
the bridge. Handrails are supported by posts attached 
to the bridge decking, stringers, adjacent ground, or 
any combination of these. (Note: Handrails were also 
used at various locations without bridges, throughout 
the trail system. A short discussion follows the descrip- 
tion of individual CCC bridge examples.) 

Fig. 5-14 A bridge constructed by the Youth Conservation Corps 
on the Jordan Pond Carry Path (#38) in 1987. 

Fig. 5-15 Youth Conservation Corps bridge on the Beech 
Mountain West Ridge Trail (#108), built in 1997. 



* -,«j. 

- ^.' J lg%~& 

Fig. 5-16 Corduroy bridge at the Cold Brook Fish Hatchery. 

Fig. 5-17 Plank bridge over Harbor Brook on the Asticou Trail 

Fig. 5-18 Plank bridge on the Pond Trail (#20) at the junction 
with the Triad Pass Trail (#29), shown here in 1958. 

Stepped-down railings are extensions of handrails 
at the ends of the bridge. These are typically placed at 
an angle, connecting the end of the handrail with the 
bridge decking, or the ground, several feet away from 
the base of the handrail post and the end of the bridge. 

Bracing is used with the handrail structure to give it 
added stability. Diagonal bracing connects the top 
of one handrail post with the bottom of the next post. 
Two of these may be installed in one section of hand- 
rail, creating an "X" pattern. Outrigger bracing (out- 
rigging) gives lateral support to the handrail structure 
by connecting the top of the handrail with extensions 
of the decking that are cantilevered out from each side 
of the bridge. 

Note: Some bridges are more appropriately described 
as closed wood culverts, due to their short length. 
However, for this document, they will be included in 
the "Bridges" section as their construction typically 
involves bridge features like abutments, stringers, and 

Figures 5-14 to 5-19 show a small sampling of the vari- 
ous bridges currently extant at Acadia. None of these 
examples date from the historic period of 1890-1942, 
but a few have features with historic precedents, like 
corduroy decking. Features typically associated with 
bridge construction are identified in the labels. 



The earliest photographs of footbridges on Mount 
Desert Island date to the 1870s. A rustic bridge with 
shade roof and seats over Duck Brook was built by the 
landowner. A second bridge may have also crossed 
Duck Brook (Figs. 5-20 & 5-21). Though the bridges 
did not last long in Maine's harsh winter climate, the 
photographic images were popular as souvenir post- 
cards. These bridges were built in the picturesque style 
espoused by Andrew Jackson Downing's Treatise on 
the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, first 
published in 1841. Downing advocated for the con- 


Chapter 5: Crossings; B. Bridges 

Fig. 5-20 This rustic bridge with a thatched roof and seats over 
Duck Brook was built by a local landowner. The bridge was 
erected in the vicinity of a path later marked as the Duck Brook 
Path (#311), photograph circa 1870s. 

Fig. 5-21 Rustic bridge, possibly constructed over Duck Brook, 
photograph circa 1870s. 

Fig. 5-19 A bridge along the Great Meadow Loop (#70), constructed in 1999. 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

struction of man-made features, including rustic seats 
and thatched-roof shelters, to enhance the beauty of 
the natural landscape setting. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

When the Bar Harbor VIA path work began in the 
1890s, simple bridges constructed of cedar string- 
ers were laid through wet areas. However, ice easily 
dislocated these bridges in the winter. By the early 
1900s, VIA/VIS path committee chairmen appeared to 
have a preference for stepping stones, "stone bridges" 
(which may actually have been capstone culverts), and 
trail reroutes instead of bridge construction. 26 Some 
wooden bridges continued to be used, but these "rustic 
style" VIA/VIS bridges were still dainty compared to 
later bridge construction. Few images have been found 
of these early bridges, and it is unlikely that there were 
unified standards for bridge construction. 

There is much commentary in the VIA/VIS path com- 
mittee annual reports about the frequent need for 
replacement and repair of bridges. In particular, the 
bridges for the path along Jordan Pond Stream (#65) 
required constant maintenance. A circa-1904 photo- 
graph shows one of several bridges along the path (Fig. 
5-22). This bridge of thin cedar logs and cut planks may 
have lasted fifteen years, as the 1919 Path Report indi- 
cates that five new cedar bridges were built that year. 
Another VIS bridge, photographed circa 1908, was also 
built with a combination of rough cedar logs and cut 
planks (Fig. 5-23). 

By the late teens there were a number of bridges with 
gravel surfacing, notably in the Sieur de Monts area 
(see Fig. 5-1). Some of these bridges had a span as short 
as 18 inches and were similar in size to culverts. Logs 
were either laid parallel to the treadway across the 
drainage, or perpendicular to the treadway on wooden 
stringers. The structure was then covered with gravel 
to match the existing tread surface. As of 2002, rem- 
nants of a few of these bridges remain in the Sieur de 
Monts area. 

According to the annual reports, by the 1920s several 
wooden bridges were located on the Kebo Brook Path 

(#364), Fawn Pond Path (#309), Cadillac Cliffs Trail 
(#5), Bracken Path (#307), and White Path (#329). 
However, none of these bridges are extant and no 
supporting photographs have been found. 

In 1926 construction began on a large stone "rus- 
tic" bridge over the outlet on the north end of Lake 
Wood. 27 The bridge was designed by noted landscape 
architect and summer resident, Beatrix Farrand and 
was built during the latter period of endowed and 
memorial trails, as a memorial bridge. The bridge was 
dedicated in 1929 as the "Kane & Bridgham Memorial 

After the 1920s there was little documentation of bridge 
construction, as most paths were turned over to NPS 
park maintenance and work programs including the 
CCC and Mission 66. Two of the last surviving VIA/ VIS 
bridges built during the 1930s may have been on the 
Maple Spring Trail (#58), which was photographed in 
the 1960s and removed in the early 1970s (Fig. 5-24), 
and the bridge at the north end the Jordan Pond Path 
(#39). This bridge was replaced by the NPS in 1983 with 
a slightly modified design that still stands. The original 
bridge was slightly shorter and smaller, as described in 
greater detail in "Specifications for Bridges." 

The Seal Harbor VIS and Northeast Harbor VIA still 
build and maintain bridges on trails outside of the park. 
Most Seal Harbor VIS bridges are constructed of cut 
planks, whereas the Northeast Harbor VIS continues 
the tradition of rustic cedar pole bridges, including 
arched stringers, curved railings, and thin, full round 
saplings for corduroy tread. Northeast Harbor VIS 
president Dan Fait spent several years searching for two 
matching arched cedar poles (of downed trees) to serve 
as stringers for an arched bridge on a Northeast Har- 
bor trail (Figs. 5-25 to 5-28). 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

Similar to the individual approach for VIA/VIS bridges 
within the island's trail system, the CCC bridges built 
between 1933 and 1942 exhibited individual character 
and were built in the rustic design style. However, the 
CCC bridges adhered to some guidelines for "good 


Chapter 5: Crossings; B. Bridges 

Fig. 5-22 An early footbridge over the Jordan Stream on the 
Jordan Stream Path (#65), photographed in 1904. 

Fig. 5-23 A bridge of cut boards and rough-hewn logs, shown in 
1908, along the rocks near Seal Harbor built by the Seal Harbor 
VIS, circa 1908. 

Fig. 5-24 This log bridge with a single railing, shown in 1961, 
was constructed possibly by the Northeast Harbor VIS over 
Hadlock Brook in a gorge near pulpit rock on the Maple Spring 
Trail (#58). 

Fig. 5-25 This corduroy bridge was constructed in 1998 by the 
Northeast Harbor VIS below Asticou Gardens on the Asticou 
Brook Trail (#514). Rough split cedar decking is laid on stripped 
cedar log stringers and supported by stone abutments. 

Fig. 5-26 This arched corduroy bridge with a single railing was 
constructed by the Northeast Harbor VIS circa 1998 on the Lower 
Hadlock Trail (#502). The cedar stringers are naturally curved 
logs, typical of trees found along pond shores or stream banks. 

Fig. 5-27 This wooden bridge with cedar log stringers and plank 
decking on the Great/Long Pond Trail (#118), shown in 1968, may 
contain underpinnings of a CCC-era bridge. 

Fig. 5-28 This corduroy bridge on the Lower Hadlock Trail (#502) 
has a single wooden railing nailed to adjacent trees. It was 
constructed in the 1990s by the Northeast Harbor VIS. 



Fig. 5-29 A 1930s view of construction of a CCC corduroy bridge 
shows the installation of the stone abutments and three log 

Fig. 5-30 The completed corduroy bridge with log curbrail and 
gravel over the decking photographed in the 1930s. Its smaller 
scale is typical of CCC work on the west side of the island. 

Fig. 5-31 CCC crews working on a wooden bridge in the Great 
Meadow, circa 1930s. 

practice and procedure" as outlined in Guy Arthur's 
1937 CCC training publication Construction of Trails. 
These guidelines, or design standards, are also articu- 
lated in Albert Good's three-volume, 1938 publica- 
tion, Park & Recreation Structures. The book describes 
and illustrates footbridges with no handrails, a single 
rail, a single rail with a curbrail, and double handrails. 
Outrigger bracing is used for many, but not all, of the 

At Acadia NP, historic photographs indicate most CCC 
footbridges were built with dry-laid stone abutments 
and cedar log stringers, decking, and handrails. Bridge 
construction style was diverse including flat cordu- 
roy bridges, arched corduroy bridges, split and whole 
log-decked bridges, bridges with curbrails, and bridges 
with double handrails and outrigger bracing. On many 
bridges the log decking was covered with gravel to 
provide an uninterrupted walking tread. Some bridges 
on walking paths were built with a treadway over 5 feet 
wide, to support fire control equipment, such as the 

Fig. 5-33 CCC bridge near Sieur de Monts Spring with diagonal 
and outrigger bracing, circa 1930s. 

Fig. 5-32 CCC bridge in Great Meadow with stepped-down 
railings and outrigger bracing, 1930s. 

Fig. 5-34 An end view of the CCC bridge on the Great Meadow 
Nature Trail (#365) shows continuous gravel surfacing, circa 1930s. 


Chapter 5: Crossings; B. Bridges 

bridge over Great Brook on the Long Pond Trail (#118) 
and those in the Great Meadow. 

In general, CCC bridges on the eastern side of MDI 
had larger structural members, with railings, braces, 
trusses, and the use of gravel surfacing. CCC bridges 
on the western side were often closer to the VIA/VIS 
style, with smaller members or arched stringers. 
Photos of bridges on the west of the island show no 
railings, braces, trusses, or gravel (Figs. 5-29 to 5-34). 

NPS/Mission 66 

No documentation has been found for Mission 66 
period bridges. 

National Park Service 

By the 1970s, many park bridges were in extreme dis- 
repair. Trail crews began replacing bridges whenever 
possible. In 1986, a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) 
project replaced seventeen bridges throughout the 
park. By the mid-1980s, all pre-1970 bridges had been 
replaced with new cedar log bridges. They were gener- 
ally uniform in design, similar to the bulky CCC style 
bridges. Construction was very simple, with stringers 
of 8 to 12 inches diameter laid across sleepers or rock 
cribs, and planked over with boards of varying dimen- 
sions (2-by-8 inches, 2-by-10 inches, etc.), depending 
where or when the bridge was built, and who built it. 
Some were full cut planks, some not. The material was 
spruce, sometimes pressure-treated, or redwood left- 
over from other projects. Few had railings, exceptions 
being three at Sieur de Monts Spring, one on the Long 
Pond Trail (#118), and one on Penobscot Mountain 
(#47) in the cliffs area (Fig. 5-35). A CCC-style bridge 
on the Precipice Trail (#12) had wooden railings, but 
these railings were replaced with galvanized pipe prior 
to 1974 (Fig. 5-36). 

In 1982, NPS crews replaced a CCC bridge on the Long 
Pond Trail (#118). The CCC bridge was 5 feet wide and 
had no railings. The new bridge was constructed in the 
CCC style of bridges historically used in the Sieur de 
Monts area. The treads for the new bridge were split 
cedar logs approximately 8 inches in diameter, flat side 
down (Fig. 5-37). 


There is no single style of bridge that is representative of 
each of the historic periods. On the contrary, each bridge 
reflected its builder and chosen materials. However, 
there are generalizations that apply to certain periods of 
construction. For example, the VIA/VIS bridges started 
out as dainty or fanciful representations of the rustic style. 
Through the period, the use of this whimsical character 
diminished, but the later bridges were still constructed 
with a high degree of skill and attention to detail. VIA/VIS 
builders traditionally relied on local rather than imported 
materials. By contrast, bridges constructed or rebuilt 
by the CCC on the island's eastern side typically used 
more substantial structural members and often included 
features like trusses, outrigging, and handrails. Like the 
VIA/VIS, the CCC used a variety of styles and sizes in 
their bridges. Bridges built during the same period on the 
western side of the island tended to be smaller, and some 
used curved stringers, emphasizing a different aesthetic. 

Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

Rustic bridges were built by private landholders, in con- 
junction with some of the first summer estates. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Typical bridges were constructed with relatively thin 
cedar stringers, planks, or 1-inch board decking, and often 
included handrails. Some were gravel surfaced. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Bridge styles included a mix of small corduroy flat and 
arched bridges, and large cedar log bridges with either 
curb or hand railings, outrigging, or trussed bracing. Some 
were gravel surfaced. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

No documentation has been found for the style of bridge 
construction used. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Typically cedar stringer pole and plank bridges in the 
heavier CCC style were used, as well as bogwalk bridges. 
The 1970s and 1980s saw conscientious effort to standard- 
ize construction for ease of maintenance. Emphasis on 
historical precedence influencing bridge construction 
began in the mid-1990s. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 5-37 This corduroy footbridge on the Great/Long Pond Trail 
(#118) was constructed in 1982, replacing an earlier CCC bridge. 
This new bridge is 23 feet long, 30 inches wide, and has a 3 foot 

Fig. 5-35 Bridge with railing built by NPS in the 1990s along the 
Penobscot Mountain Trail (#47). 

Fig. 5-38 This CCC-influenced log bridge was constructed in 1999 
on the Great Meadow Loop. A side view of the bridge is shown 
in Fig. 5-19. 

Fig. 5-36 A group of hikers in the 1950s on a wooden bridge connecting ledges along the Precipice Trail (#11). The wooden bridge 
railings were eventually replaced with iron. Notice the iron handrails along the edge. 


Chapter 5: Crossings; B. Bridges 

Between 1980 and 1990, approximately a dozen shorter, 
4- to 6-foot-long bridges were removed throughout 
the park. Their abutments were reworked into open 
culverts or drainage dips. 

The most recent bridge constructed in the CCC large- 
scale style was built in 1999 on the Great Meadow 
Loop, a new connector trail between Bar Harbor and 
the park. This bridge was constructed using CCC pho- 
tographs as a guide and incorporates split log decking, 
round-side up, and handrails on each side. The fin- 
ished construction generated discussion as to whether 
the tread surface is too uneven. Original CCC bridges 
of similar design contained a gravel surfacing over the 
log decking, with curbrails on each side to keep the 
gravel in place, resulting in a smoother walking surface. 
This detail was not incorporated into the new bridge, 
and a few other items, such as bracing, differ from 
CCC work, but overall, the CCC character is retained 
in this modern addition to the trail system (Fig. 5-38). 

Park crews constructed three bridges along the eastern 
shore of the Jordan Pond Path (#39) in 2000 and 2001. 
These are 4 feet 8 inches wide, with 4 inches of gravel 
surface over split cedar logs on stringers. At present, 
these are the only gravel-surfaced bridges in the park 
imitating this early 1900s feature. 

The only remaining bridges from before the 1970s are 
several small gravel-surfaced bridges that are actually 
more like closed culverts than true bridges. Approxi- 
mately four of these are located on the Canon Brook 
Trail (#19). There are also a few on closed sections of 
Stratheden Path (#24) and on the Jordan Pond Carry 
Path (#38). These bridges are in extreme disrepair and 
are generally unnoticeable to casual hikers. 

At present there are approximately 128 footbridges in 
the park, averaging 8 feet in length, for a total of about 
1,000 linear feet. 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: There were various bridge styles used through- 
out the trails' historic periods. VIA/VIS styles adhered 
to the taste of individual builders. The CCC was more 
standardized, but also used various styles in differ- 
ent park locations. This makes replication of specific 
bridges open to conjecture. 

Treatment Guidelines: Maintaining a variety of 
historically compatible bridge styles is essential to 
preserving the trail system's overall character. This can 
be accomplished by careful consideration when reha- 
bilitating an existing bridge, rebuilding a lost bridge, 
or adding a new bridge. In any of these situations, 
first determine what is the most significant period of 
construction for the individual trail, and then choose 
a bridge style that is compatible with this period. His- 
toric photographs and other documentation should be 
used for reference. 

For example, a trail that primarily reflects VIA/VIS 
features should contain bridges built to be compat- 
ible with the VIA/VIS style. Generally these types of 
bridges will contain rustic construction materials and 
maintain a relatively delicate or graceful appearance, 
as seen currently seen in the Northeast Harbor VIS 
District and Jordan Pond Path (see Fig 5-26 & Fig. 
5-39). On a CCC trail, bridges should generally have a 
heavier feel, with larger members and more substantial 
construction, particularly on the eastern side of MDI. 
The bridge recently constructed on the Great Meadow 
Loop is a good example (see Figs. 5-19 & 5-38). CCC 
bridges on the western side of MDI tended to be 
smaller in scale, and more similar to the VIA/VIS style. 
Examples of this can be seen in the extant (though 
extremely decayed) bridges at the former Cold Brook 
Fish Hatchery near the outlet of Long Pond, as well as 
in historic photographs of the many small CCC bridges 
constructed on the Long Pond Trail (#118) (Fig. 5-40). 

In many cases, a particular trail may have histori- 
cally been worked on during more than one period of 
construction. Although every effort should be made 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

to determine which period is most significant for the 
trail, and the appropriate style chosen, it is permissible 
to have some cases where more than one bridge style is 
present on a trail, as long as each is compatible with the 
trail's overall character. 

2. Use of Bridges 

Issue: In some areas, structures such as culverts have 
been added to replace bridges. Likewise, a few bridges 
have been added to the system where stepping stones 
or other features traditionally may have been used. 
These alterations may affect the character of any given 
section of trail. 

Treatment Guidelines: Careful consideration should 
be given when choosing a crossing type. Stepping 
stones, bogwalk, or closed culverts may be the more 
appropriate choice for a particular location, depend- 
ing on the individual trail history, as well as the current 
usage. Maintaining the historically appropriate cross- 
ing feature is preferred. However, if the surrounding 

Fig. 5-39 Gravel-surfaced bridge on Jordan Pond Path (#39), 
constructed in 2001. 

Fig. 5-40 This historic image shows an arched CCC corduroy 
bridge near the Cold Brook Fish Hatchery on the Great/Long 
Pond Trail (#118) soon after construction in 1935. 

conditions have changed drastically, then a new com- 
patible crossing feature may be substituted. 

For example, if a bridge was historically used at a 
stream crossing, then a bridge is the preferred choice 
for modern use. However, if the stream is no longer as 
large, or is dry for part of the year, then stepping stones 
or bogwalk may be considered as an alternative to a 
bridge. The choice will depend on what feature types 
are most compatible with the trail's historic character. 

3. Durability 

Issue: Durability and structural integrity of all bridges 
is a concern. In particular, the more "delicate" bridge 
styles are prone to maintenance problems and need 
frequent replacement. Primarily, this is due to smaller 
pieces decaying more rapidly or failing from repeated 
stresses. These bridges often cannot accommodate 
increased hiker traffic in high-use areas because of the 
increased frequency of use and weight loads. 

Treatment Guidelines: In order to meet structural 
requirements and maintain bridge durability, historic 
styles may be adapted with the addition of modern 
materials. For example, steel stringers may be added 
to some large bridges that sustain consistent heavy 
loads. Abutments may be reinforced with steel or 
concrete as needed. Pressure-treated lumber may be 
used for decking, railings, or other bridge members 
that do not come in contact with the ground (reducing 
environmental concerns about leaching). Some bridge 
modifications may also be necessary due to higher 
levels of use, such as the addition of handrails or other 
safety features. Generally, modifications can be easily 
made to most bridge styles in an unobtrusive manner 
without sacrificing historic character. 

4. Sills versus Abutments 

Issue: Most bridges in Acadia have their stringers 
placed directly on sills rather than stronger, longer- 
lasting, non-rotting abutments. 

Treatment Guidelines: Most bridges are small and 
light enough to be placed on log or rock sills. To main- 
tain the character of Acadia's bridges, this practice 


Chapter 5: Crossings; B. Bridges 

should be continued. However, abutments should be 
considered in certain instances. If the stability of the 
bank is in question from vegetation loss, soil scour, or 
a historically high rate of erosion, a durable abutment 
should be built. If the bank slopes back such that a long 
span is required, constructed abutments may shorten 
that span. When tread repair necessitates a higher 
stringer than possible on existing banks, abutments 
should be used. Abutments should also be used in 
places where there is an existing historical abutment. 
If the construction of abutments will greatly alter the 
character of a trail or area, they should be only be con- 
sidered as a secondary choice if absolutely necessary. 

the importance of using local material to achieve a 
"harmonious medium of structural interpretation." He 
advocates for the use of wood and stone rather than 
steel or concrete. 29 

For the selection and design of timber bridges, Good 
recommends simplicity in construction so as to blend 
with the natural surroundings and the use of either 
round or squared timber. Bridges of an open wood- 
truss type are discouraged, as are the construction of 
unnecessary trusses. Finishing touches to the bridge 
are paramount. Furthermore, he suggests variety in 
bridge construction, "avoiding the commonplace at 
one extreme, and the fantastic on the other." 30 


1. Location 

At Acadia, bridges are typically constructed over 
streams in high-use areas, in areas frequented by inex- 
perienced hikers, over streams where an unimpeded 
flow of water is required, where there is a sharp dip in 
grade, where there is a gap between ledges, or to solve 
erosion problems, for example at the banks of a stream 
or gully. New bridges are also regularly installed 
as replacements for existing bridges, as most cedar 
bridges have an average longevity of approximately 
twenty years. Not all stream crossings require the use 
of a bridge. Stepping stones, culverts, and causeways 
are additional options that should be considered. 

The CCC guidelines state, "foot logs and foot bridges 
are not recommended except where the stream is 
sufficiently large to justify them." Fords and stepping 
stones are the preferred alternatives in these situations. 
For locating and constructing footbridges, the guide- 
lines suggest using any natural formation available to 
make the structure fit the surrounding area, and using 
existing boulders or formations as abutments. 28 

Albert Good states there should be a clear necessity for 
construction of a bridge. For example, the crossing of 
dry ravines or gullies may require a bridge only in an 
intensive use area. He cautions against the construc- 
tion of flimsy or overly ponderous bridges and stresses 

2. Structural Materials 

All wood should be decay-free, fresh-cut Northern 
white cedar. For all bridge structural components that 
are visible such as railings and railing posts, remove 
splinters and jagged or sharp edges, rough knots, and 
sharp chainsaw or axe cuts. Do not use CCA (chro- 
mated copper arsenate) pressure-treated wood on 
park bridge or rail structures. However, treated woods 
approved by the NPS Integrated Pest Management 
Office are allowable for bridge members that do not 
come in direct contact with soil. Pressure-treated 
members must be visually compatible with the chosen 
bridge style. 

Nails and bolts should be galvanized (or comparable 
non-corrosive material). Nail sizes vary with the 
materials joined, from a minimum lOd nail for 1-inch- 
thick boards, to 10-inch spikes for logs in abutments 
and stringers. All lag or carriage bolts should be 3/8 
inch diameter or larger. To prevent splitting wood, 
pre-drilled holes are suggested for nails and required 
for bolts. 

3. Abutments (Figs. 5-41 & 5-42) 

It is imperative the abutments do not impede stream 
flow. They shall be constructed on stable banks, above 
high water, and far enough from streamside so as not 
to erode underneath and be undermined. The height 
above the stream depends upon the stream itself. Usu- 
ally, one can gauge high water by observing bank side 



ACAD NP-Baldyga/Slellpflug 

Fig. 5-41 Detail of stone abutment angles and placement. 

Saddle Notch 

Square Cut 

Fig. 5-42 Detail of 
saddle notches and 
square cuts. Two 
adjoining logs should 
be cut or saddle- 
notched and spiked 
together for strength 
and stability when 
constructing log 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Stellpflug 

scour or debris piles, and following the lay of the land 
for that area. Also consider the known history of a 
particular stream. 

Natural rock formations, including existing boulders 
and/or ledge rock, are appropriate for use as abut- 
ments. They are preferred because they involve no 
alteration of stream flow or banks. Boulders larger 
than 2 cubic feet in size per stringer can also be used. If 
stringers cannot securely rest on natural surfaces, they 
should be pinned to the ledge with 3/4-inch steel. 

If natural formations are unavailable, stone abutments 
are the preferred choice. The stone used should reflect 
the stone type, color, texture, and scale of those lying 
naturally within the stream itself. When constructing 
stone abutments, Good recommends using "pro- 
nounced horizontal coursing, breaking of vertical 
joints," and a "variety in size of stones — all the prin- 
ciples productive of sound construction and pleasing 
appearance in any use of masonry." 31 

Stone abutments are constructed using the best 
accepted drywall masonry techniques. This incorpo- 
rates large footing stones with a 1-cubic-foot minimum 
size, headers, packing, and large top tier coping stones, 
again, at least 1 cubic foot in size. The top-tier rocks 
may be flush with the tread surface in order to main- 
tain even height from bridge decking to trail tread. The 
footing tier should be 12 to 18 inches below minimum 
water level, or to ledge, to prevent undermining, and 
ends should turn and be constructed in excavations 
in the stream banks. This will prevent scouring. The 
SCA manual recommends an angle of 35 degrees to the 
stream flow, upstream, and 45 degrees downstream. 32 
In some instances it will be possible to build abutments 
above stream flow entirely, constructing a simple wall 
sufficient to support stringers and retain tread. This is 
suggested only for areas with stable banks that are not 
actively eroding. The style of rock construction should 
reflect the characteristics of the surrounding trail 
features or era. 

Stone abutments are superior to log abutments due 
to longevity. However, log abutments may be used if 


Chapter 5: Crossings; B. Bridges 

necessary. For log abutments, care should be taken 
to ensure no high water undermining or scouring, 
incorporating the same angles as in stone abutments. 
Use cedar logs, at least 8 inches in diameter, joined 
with saddle notches and spikes. Header logs need to 
extend at least 3 feet into the stream banks. A single sill 
laid well above stream flow, on a small, intermittent 
stream, may suffice as an abutment for a bridge under 
4 feet long. See Chapter 6 for more information on 
constructing stone retaining walls. 

4. Sills (Fig. 5-43) 

Sills are the logs supporting the ends of bridge's string- 
ers. They are set perpendicular to the tread. They are 
a minimum of 8 inches in diameter, and buried at least 
two-thirds into the soil or bank sides. They should 
be approximately twice the width of the bridges. Not 
all bridges require sills, as stringers can be set directly 
upon stone or log abutments. Often, in place of sills, 
stringer ends can be placed on rocks larger enough to 
support their weight. 

5. Stringers 

Most bridges are sufficiently sturdy with two string- 
ers of at least 8 inches minimum diameter. For longer 
spans, stringers need to be 12 to 18 inches in diameter. 
Bridges over 4 feet wide and 6 feet long, where "five- 
quarter" lumber (1 inch thick) is used as decking, may 
require three stringers. When placing the stringers, lay 
them with the crown, or bow, facing up. Notch string- 
ers as little as possible, as this compromises strength; if 
needed, notch sills instead. Stringers should be placed 
on abutments, large single rocks, crushed stone, or 
sills. Do not place stringers directly on bare soil. If 
there is a chance of high water, stringers should be 
pinned to ledge or otherwise attached to abutments so 
as not to shift at high water or with ice flow. 

6. Decking (Fig. 5-44) 

For milled planks, use full-cut 2-inch-thick planks, a 
minimum of 8 inches wide. IPM-approved pressure- 
treated wood may be used for decking. Planks should 
extend equally to the outside of each stringer, between 
6 to 8 inches maximum to the outside of stringer cen- 
terline. Limit spacing between decking boards to 1 inch 

Twice the width of the bridge decking 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Stellpflug 

Fig. 5-43 Detail of sill sizing. 

-. Gap is 
" 1/4" to 1" 

2" full- 
L. cut lumber 

5/4" cut 

5/4" wood requires maximum 
16" span between supports 

^ t---. Min. 6" 
\l log 

Min 3"- 
\t — ^diameter 

Three 8" or greater stringers 

KHO NP-Baldrga/Stellptlug 

Fig. 5-44 Details of various decking options. 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

in remote trail areas, and to 34 to Vi inch in high-use 
areas. To date, Acadia crews have used nominal, 2-inch 
full-cut redwood recycled from other park projects, as 
well as pressure-treated and untreated lumber. 

Five-quarter decking may be used to capture the 
characteristics of the "delicate" VIA/VIS bridges. This 
material is typically 1 inch thick by 5 Vi inches wide. It 
may be either cedar or a pressure-treated spruce or 
pine that has been approved by the NPS Integrated 
Pest Management Office. If five-quarter decking is 
used, a third stringer is required any time the span 
between stringers reaches 16 inches or greater. 

For unmilled decking, use half-round cedar at least 
6 inches in diameter, or full-round a minimum of 2 
inches diameter. Though some original bridges prob- 
ably had full-round decking as thin as 1 to 1 Vi inches in 
diameter, this is far too thin for practical application. 
Two-inch-diameter wood is suggested for VIA/VIS 

and smaller CCC bridges. For the sturdier-style CCC 
bridges, larger 4- to 6-inch-diameter wood is sug- 

Where decking runs perpendicular to tread, decking 
ends must be cut to uniform length. With milled plank 
decking, bridge treads must be smooth with an even 
height, to prevent hazard. 

Gravel surfacing can be applied to bridge decking. The 
decking should be half-round or full-round cedar for 
VIA/VIS or CCC appearance. Cover decking with a 
very thin, woven geotextile blanket, to stop silting of 
gravel fines through cracks in bridge decking. Curbrail 
sides must be installed along the bridge to contain 
gravel. Maintain even tread continuity from bridge 
surface to trail tread surface. A minimum of 4 inches of 
gravel should be applied. Because of increased weight, 
surface should not exceed 5 inches thick. A gravel- 
surfaced bridge should use three very solid stringers 

post tops 

Notched post 
and butt joint 

Post may 
be buried 
into soil 


ACAD NP-Baldyga/Stelipflug 

'Handrails are typically needed if the bridge is 30"-36" above the grade. 

'Handrails should be at least 3" diameter 

'Posts should be at least 5" diameter 

'Handrails should be at 36"-38" above decking 

'Top of posts should be 38"-42" above decking, extending 2"-4" above handrail 

'Post should be securely anchored to the stringers, bedrock, or buried in the soil. 

'Handrails should be securely attached to posts with notching, lap joints, and spikes or carriage bolts 

'Diagonal bracing may be used for added stability, depending on bridge style. 

Fig. 5-45 Detail of bridge handrails. 


Chapter 5: Crossings; B. Bridges 

of at least 8 inches diameter up to 8 feet long. Longer 
bridge spans require stringers of greater diameter. 

Some original gravel-surfaced bridges used log decking 
running parallel with the tread. Poles of 4 to 6 inches 
diameter were laid parallel, sides touching, on sills or 
abutments, and covered with gravel. This style rarely 
exceeded 6 feet in length. To replicate this form of 
bridge, use poles a minimum of 6 inches diameter. 

7. Curbrails and Handrails (Fig. 5-45) 

Curbrails are low beams or logs, typically less than 3 
inches diameter, affixed to the edge of bridge decking. 
They provide both a visual and physical barrier to keep 
the hiker from stepping off the edge of the bridge when 
no handrail is present. They can also be used to add 
support to bridge stringers and decking. Nevertheless, 
curbrails are rarely used with standard decked bridges, 
but they are a necessity for gravel-surfaced bridges. 
The curbrail constrains the gravel to the bridge tread 
surface. Typically, curbrails used for this purpose are 
not over 5 inches diameter, since the gravel surfacing 
should be no thicker than this due to weight concerns. 

Handrails are the more common bridge feature used 
for visitor safely. They should always be used if the 
bridge is located in a high-visitor-use area, like Sieur 
de Monts Spring. In other locations, handrails should 
be considered whenever the bridge-to-base distance 
exceeds approximately 36 inches. However, the bridge 
style and location should always be taken into consid- 
eration when the need for handrails is addressed. In 
some cases a broader bridge may use curbrails in addi- 
tion to handrails. 

Weak or poorly secured handrails can be hazardous. 
Handrails should be sturdy enough to support the 
weight of a group of hikers leaning against the hand- 
rail. Historically, VIA/VIS handrails were often less 
than 2 inches diameter. However, modern handrails 
should be a minimum 3 inches diameter, notched 
into posts, and located approximately 36 to 38 inches 
above the decking. Connecting railing sections need 
to be attached to the posts with lap joints. Rails can 
be held to posts with spikes, allowing at least 4 inches 

of penetration into uprights. However, carriage bolts 
through the posts and rails are preferred. Pre-drilling 
of the holes is recommended. Rough knots should be 
smoothed and ends rounded to ensure there are no 
sharp edges or splinters. 

Handrail posts should be a minimum of 5 inches diam- 
eter and not more than 10 feet long. Post tops should 
be approximately 38 to 42 inches above deck level. 
Diagonal knee or interior truss braces may be installed 
to eliminate excessive rail or post shimmy, depending 
on the bridge style. End posts that are placed in the 
ground should be buried 30 to 36 inches. If the end 
posts cannot be inserted into the ground, they should 
be pinned to ledge and/or solidly nailed or bolted to 
stringers with 3-inch or larger lag bolts or carriage 
bolts. Posts can also be set directly upon decking, using 
a curbrail as added support for the post bottom. Post 
tops should be rounded over or bevel cut to shed water 
and snow. Smooth rough knots and round ends to 
ensure there are no sharp edges or splinters. 

8. Ramps and Approaches 

Tread and deck should meet at level even grade if 
possible. If this is not possible, cribs or stepping stones 
must be built to bring the tread up to deck level. Grade 
to bridge level must not exceed twelve percent. This 
should provide for easy, user-friendly approaches. 
Ramps should aesthetically fit the landscape and the 
bridge style. 

9. Site Cleanup 

The construction site should be picked up during and 
after completion of the work. Silt fencing should be 
installed during construction for erosion and sedi- 
ment control around the stream. If on-site materials 
are used, gather them from far enough away so as not 
to leave scars. Carry in materials to the site whenever 
possible. Clean up and restore the area after construc- 
tion. If an old bridge is removed, always carry out 
pressure-treated material for proper disposal. Haul 
other planks, such as stringers, far away from the site, 
and scatter and hide debris so it is not seen from the 
trail. Take into consideration seasonal foliage changes 
when hiding debris. Cut material into small pieces. 



Never leave metal hardware; remove it from the site 
and dispose of it properly. 

10. Bridge Examples 

To guide construction of bridges in the VIA/VIS or 
CCC styles, several sample bridges that were histori- 
cally present or are currently extant are described 
below. Information is provided on the location, set- 
ting, materials, construction methods, and modifica- 
tions addressing modern safety issues and structural 
improvements to accommodate higher use levels. 

VIA/VIS bridges: 

a. 1904 cedar bridge over Jordan Stream (#65) 

b. Circa-1908 cedar bridge along the Seal Harbor 
Shore Path (#427) 

c. Cedar bridge on the Maple Spring Trail (#58), 

d. 1983 VIS-style bridge on the Jordan Pond Loop 
Trail (#39) 

e. Bridge remains on the Maple Spring Trail (#58) 
and the Amphitheater Trail (#56) 

f. Gravel-surfaced bridge on the Stratheden Path 

g. VIA/VIS stone bridge 

CCC bridges: 
h. Cold Brook Fish Hatchery area 
i. Long Pond Trail (#118) 
j. Great Meadow/Sieur de Monts area 

VIA/VIS Bridges 

a. 1904 cedar bridge over Jordan Stream (#65) 

(see Fig. 5-22). A bridge was chosen instead of stepping 
stones or a stepstone culvert for this medium-flow, 
year-round stream. Apparently there were no abut- 
ments for the stringers. In all probability the stringers 
sat directly on large rocks or sills. Site examination 
would suggest the necessity of abutments for stream- 
side protection. The stringers appear to be 4-inch- 
by-6-inch planks, which are sufficient for this short 
span. Eight-inch-diameter logs would also suffice for 
this structure. The decking is apparently 1 inch thick 
and provides sufficient support; however, the random 
spacing between the decking is unsafe. Replacement 
decking should be spaced with 1 inch between boards. 

The railing is approximately 2 inches diameter and 
attached to supported posts. A present-day substitute 
would require 3-inch-diameter material to meet safety 
and durability needs. 

b. Circa-1908 cedar bridge along the Seal Harbor 
Shore Path (#427) (see Fig. 5-23). A trail reroute or 
cliffside railings could have dealt with the technologi- 
cal problems of surmounting this crevice. Choos- 
ing a bridge allowed the VIS to vary and showcase 
construction methods along their trail, maintain the 
continuity of the relatively straight path, and increase 
the dramatic effect of the crevice. The abutments were 
natural ledges, and the stringers were held in place 
with iron pins. Some of the original pins can still be 
found. The 10-inch-diameter stringers were supported 
by knee braces, located approximately one-third the 
distance from each end. On this long span, the braces 
compensate for sag in the stringers, and reduce lateral 
movement. Careful examination suggests some form 
of plank running along the top of the stringers, which 
appears unnecessary. In constructing a similar bridge, 
2-inch-thick decking and 3-inch-diameter railings 
and bracing would be the minimum needed for visitor 
safety. The suggested width of this bridge would be 

3 feet. 

c. Cedar bridge on the Maple Spring Trail (#58) (see 
Fig. 5-24). A bridge was located over the year-round 
stream on the Maple Spring Trail (#58), although it is 
no longer extant and no replacement has been con- 
structed. Remains of this bridge were discovered along 
the stream in 2000, including stringers, decking, and 
handrail It is likely the bridge was built by the North- 
east Harbor VIS, or it may have been constructed by 
some other group or individual copying the VIS style. 
The stream is very difficult to cross during high-runoff 
times, and a bridge should be reestablished at this site 
to allow safe stream crossing and protect the stream- 
side resource. Evidence indicates the abutments for 
the original structure included a low rock wall on the 
western end, with the eastern end of the bridge pinned 
to existing boulders. This is sufficient, providing 
adequate clearance for high water and construction 

to eliminate undermining and scouring of the abut- 


Chapter 5: Crossings; B. Bridges 

ment on the western end. The original 7-inch-diameter 
stringers would need to be replaced with a minimum 
of 8-inch-diameter logs for improved structural stabil- 
ity. The original decking was full-cut 2-inch-thick 
milled lumber with no spacing, but a X A inch minimum 
spacing is needed. The width of the tread was adequate 
at approximately 42 inches. The original handrail 
was only 1 M inches in diameter and would need to be 
upgraded to 3 inches at a minimum. It had a downward 
curve at the ends, and this feature should be main- 
tained if the handrail were reestablished. Four upright 
posts, 6 inches in diameter, supported the handrail 
with additional support provided by 1- to 2-inch-diam- 
eter outrigger bracing. The posts were of sufficient size, 
but the bracing would need to be increased to 3 inches 
diameter. Note the single railing on the downstream 

d. 1983 VIS-style bridge on the Jordan Pond Loop 
Trail (#39) (Fig. 5-46). At the northern end of Jordan 
Pond, a VIS-style bridge was built in 1983. Differences 
between it and the original bridge are illustrated in the 
size of construction members, the height above the 
water, the length of approach, and the larger abutment 

length. Decking planks are laid across the logs, parallel 
with the tread. 

The diagonal bracing above the deck was replicated. 
It helps give firmness to the walking surface, support 
the weight of the arch, and it also serves as a handrail. 
A minimum of 4 inches diameter is necessary for the 
bracing logs. Another interesting feature is under the 
tread. Again copied from the original, there is diago- 
nal bracing between the stringers to lessen any lateral 
movement of the bridge. This bracing is similar to the 
trusses under historic covered road bridges. Given that 
the original design element used in the construction of 
this bridge have lasted over forty years, any subsequent 
replacement should remain as true as possible to these 
historical precedents. 

e. Bridge remains on the Maple Spring Trail (#58) 
and the Amphitheater Trail (#56) In the trails inven- 
tory conducted in the 1980s, Gary Stellpflug docu- 
mented the decaying remains of a bridge on Section 
3 of the Maple Spring Trail (#58). There was also a 
smaller, similar bridge stored under the Amphitheater 
carriage road bridge, likely from the Amphitheater 
Trail (#56). Nothing remains of either bridge. 

The log crib piers are 5 feet square on the outside, with 
logs a minimum of 5 inches diameter logs. The piers sit 
approximately 40 inches above the lake bottom. The 
original stringers were single curved logs. Each stringer 
of the present bridge is made of two logs connected 
with a scarf joint in the center. This is sufficient, as long 
as the diagonal truss braces are maintained. The string- 
ers rise 8 inches from pier to center, with a span from 
sleeper to sleeper of 19 feet 3 inches. The weight of the 
arch is held by three construction members acting in 
conjunction— upright center bracing, diagonal bracing, 
and the use of the piers to stop the outward thrust of 
the arch. 

The original decking was of l-by-6-inch boards. At 
present the decking is full-cut 2-by-10-inch planks. 
The original method of decking was imitated. Stringers 
were topped with 2 K 2 -inch half-round logs, perpen- 
dicular to the tread, spaced evenly along the bridge 

Presently there is no crossing feature where the 
original Maple Spring bridge was located, and the 
replacement of this feature is appropriate. The 
original structure was a 3-foot-wide corduroy bridge, 
decked with closely spaced, cedar full-round logs that 
were less than 2 inches diameter. The logs were laid 

Fig. 5-46 This wooden bridge was constructed in 1983 by NPS 
crews on the Jordan Pond Loop Trail (#39) at the north end of the 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 5-47 A CCC worker rolls gravel tread on a corduroy bridge 
on the Stratheden Path (#24) in the 1930s. Notice the stone 
abutments, corduroy decking, and curbrails, common features on 
many of the gravel surfaced bridges. 

Fig. 5-48 The Kane & Bridgham Memorial Bridge was constructed 
between 1926 and 1929 at the outlet of Lakewood in Bar Harbor. 
Designed by noted landscape architect and summer resident 
Beatrix Farrand, the bridge consisted of large stone slabs set on 
stone piers. Photograph circa 1932. 

Fig. 5-49 A 1997 view of the Kane & Bridgham Memorial Bridge 
showing the remaining pieces of the bridge. Rising waters from 
beaver activity along with ice damage have taken their toll on 
this structure, and at times it is almost completely submerged. 

perpendicular to the trail tread. It is interesting to note 
the decking difference with the previously described 
bridge, suggesting different-style bridges, even on the 
same trail. 

The bridge on the Amphitheater Trail (#56) was also 
corduroy, decked with small cedar full-round logs. It 
was approximately 8 feet long, narrow, with distinctly 
curved stringers. These were under 6 inches thick, the 
bare minimum for structural stability. 

These two bridges probably had the appearance of 
the arched and flat corduroy Northeast Harbor VIA 
bridges on Lower Hadlock Trail (#502) and the Asti- 
cou Brook Trail (#514), or the long corduroy bogwalk 
on the Upper Hadlock Pond Trail (#501). (See Figs. 
5-3, 5-26, and 5-28) 

f. Gravel-surfaced bridges on the Stratheden Path 

(#24) (Fig. 5-47, also Fig. 5-1) 

Excellent examples of gravel-surfaced cedar bridges 
were located on the Stratheden Path (#24). On one 
bridge, the rock wall abutments were built to a height 
to allow continuation of tread grade and width. The 
bridge had 8-inch-diameter stringers. Full-round 6- 
inch-diameter logs were placed perpendicular to the 
tread, very tightly spaced. The entire wooden surface 
was covered with gravel. These bridges rarely had 
handrails. A 6-inch-diameter curbrail ran the length of 
the bridge, in order to contain the gravel. These speci- 
fications were typical for other bridges of this type and 
are suitable for modern usage, with the addition of 
geotextile material underneath the gravel. 

g. VIA/VIS Stone Bridge (Figs. 5-48 & 5-49). In the 
1920s, landscape architect Beatrix Farrand designed 
a granite bridge for the outlet of Lake Wood. Con- 
structed between 1926 and 1929, the bridge consisted 
of granite block abutments and piers, topped with 
granite block decking and curbrails. Though col- 
lapsed, most of the bridge pieces remain, and it could 
be reconstructed using some of the original materi- 
als. If the bridge is rebuilt, further research should be 
conducted to locate the original design drawings and 
specifications. This is the only known bridge of this 


Chapter 5: Crossings; B. Bridges 

type located in the park, and because of its uniqueness, 
it would be inappropriate to reconstruct a bridge of 
this type in any other location. 

CCC Cedar Bridges 

As previously discussed, CCC bridges showed similar 
diversity to the VIA/VIS bridges and encompassed a 
wide variety of styles. Examples of the variety of CCC 
work included stocky structures in Great Meadow and 
Sieur de Monts, small gravel-surfaced bridges in the 
same area, planked bridges like ones near Long Pond, 
and a delicate curved stringer bridge on Cold Brook. 

Three examples from Acadia are presented here, 
providing an introduction on how future bridge work 
based on the CCC style might be achieved. For a 
broader discussion of the general design parameters of 
CCC bridges, refer to Albert Good's Park & Recreation 
Structures, Part I: Administration and Basic Service 
Facilities, pages 175-200. 

j. Great Meadow/Sieur de Monts area (see Figs. 
5-18 & 5-38). As previously stated, CCC bridges on 
the eastern side of MDI were typically stockier than 
CCC bridges built on the western side of the island. 
In the Great Meadow/Sieur de Monts area, bridges 
typically had substantial stone abutments, stringers 
composed of larger logs (up to 12-inch-diameter), with 
large upright posts and railings (up to 8 inches diam- 
eter). These bridges were firmly trussed with outrigger 
bracing, even though the bridge span was less than 12 
feet. The decking was approximately full or half-round 
logs approximately 5 inches in diameter. These were 
covered with a layer of gravel contiguous with the trail 
tread surface. 

In 1999, a bridge based on this CCC style was added to 
the Great Meadow Loop. Using historic photographs 
as a design reference, the bridge was constructed with 
brawny railings, stringers, and trusses. Although the 
original bridges of this type often were gravel surfaced, 

h. Cold Brook Fish Hatchery area (Fig. 5-50, also 
Figs. 5-16 & 5-40). A historic corduroy bridge in the 
former Cold Brook at the Fish Hatchery was less than 
4 feet wide. The stringers were curved cedar logs, 
and the deck was full or round cedar approximately 
4 inches in diameter. Several other small corduroy 
bridges were found in this area. Typically, railings were 
not used with these bridges. 

i. Long Pond Trail (#118 ) (Fig. 5-51, also Fig. 5-37). 
Two pre-1970s bridges were documented in the 1980s 
on the Long Pond Trail (#118) and have since been 
replaced. The first bridge, across the Great Brook, 
had substantial log abutments, a width of 5 feet, and 
2-inch-thick decking. A smaller bridge was only 4 feet 
wide and probably also had 2-inch decking. It was 
supported by small stones. By the 1970s, neither of 
these bridges had handrails, although handrails may 
have been an original feature. Gary Stellpflug remem- 
bers both of these bridges being extremely rotted and 
hazardous prior to their 1982 replacement. There is an 
assortment of other small bridges on this trail, many 
constructed over original CCC stone abutments. 

Fig. 5-50 A recently reconstructed corduroy bridge at the Fish 
Hatchery was built in the style of historic bridges on Cold Brook. 

Fig. 5-51 Small CCC corduroy bridge on the Great/Long Pond 
Trail (#118) in 1935. The delicate style, similar to earlier VIA/VIS 
work, complements the gravel tread and coping stones. 


Acadia trails treatment Plan 

the current structure is not. However, if this is desired, 
it could be accomplished with the addition of geotex- 
tile cloth covering, curbrails, and gravel. 


1. Inspect bridges for decay and structural integrity. 
The longevity of a bridge is generally less than 
twenty years, so a cyclic program of replacement 
must be established. 

2. Check abutments and piers annually for shifting, 
failure, or decay. 

3. Check treads for decay and raised nails. 

4. Check railings, particularly smaller railings, for 
sturdiness, splinters, and raised nails. 

5. Clean out dams and jammed logs below the bridge, 
on piers and abutments, and along surrounding 

6. Grade the approach tread to the bridge so that 
there is little transition from the tread to the bridge 

7. Routinely clean debris and organic material from 
the tread surface. 

8. Grade and maintain gravel surfacing. 

9. Drain the treadway so water does not run onto the 

10. Replace sills as needed to save stringer ends. 

11. When replacing planking and decking, replace all 
boards on the bridge at one time, as opposed to 
just replacing the rotten boards. Bridge compo- 
nents are usually evenly aged, and as some compo- 
nents begin to fail, the entire structure may need 

Fig. 5-52 A stream crossing was a typical location for stepping stone use by the early VIA/VIS trail builders. Shown in circa 1916, the 
stones cross a shallow stream over the dam at the outlet of The Tarn. These stream-style stepping stones proved to be a more durable 
option than a bridge, as they are still extant nearly ninety years later. 


Chapter 5: Crossings; C. Stepping Stones 



Stepping stones are stones set in a single row, a step- 
ping distance apart. They provide an elevated walking 
surface for crossing streams and wet areas. Stones usu- 
ally have a flat upper surface, are comfortable for step- 
ping, and are gapped, allowing water to flow through. 
Stepping stones that are placed in combination with 
sidewalls or abutments are described as stepstone cul- 
verts in Chapter 4. Stones that abut or are more than 
one stone-width across are described as stone cause- 
ways in Chapter 3. 

Stream-style stepping stones, used at stream cross- 
ings, are made up of large blocks set level to each 

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Fig. 5-53 It is unknown whether these stepping stones on the 
Eagle Lake Trail (#42) are original VIA/VIS work, but they reflect 
the style of VIA/VIS stepping stones used in boggy areas. 

other, in a straight or curving line, with regular, sub- 
stantial gaps between. Any blocking used to elevate or 
stabilize a stepstone is set completely underneath the 
step, to allow the free flow of water. The large stone 
size resists movement by ice and water. Usually these 
steps are uniform in size, rectilinear, often cut, and 
set to exacting standards. Most wide, shallow streams 
were crossed in this manner. Streams with steep banks 
were often bridged, and narrow streams were often 
crossed with culverts (Fig. 5-52). 

Bog-style stepping stones are used to traverse low, 
wet areas with standing water. They are denned 
structurally by smaller, more irregularly shaped and 
set stones. These stones are usually elevated slightly by 
setting them into a causeway of crushed or piled stone. 
Because water need not pass quickly through them, 
smaller stones are often used to fill the spaces between 
the stepping stones, and sometimes two or more step- 
ping stones in a row abut. Examples can be found the 
Eagle Lake Trail (#42), the Jordan Pond Carry Path 
(#38), and the Canon Brook Trail (#19) (Fig. 5-53). 



There is no evidence that stepping stones were used 
prior to the VIA/VIS trail work at Acadia. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Stepping stones were first introduced to the trail system 
during the VIA/VIS period of the late 1800s to early 
1900s. Typically, stepping stones were a primary choice 
by trail builders for crossing wet areas and they were 
used frequently on many VIA/VIS trails, including the 
memorial trails. 

Both styles of stepping stones were used. Examples of 
bog-style stones can be found on several trails, includ- 
ing the Asticou Trail (#49), Gorham Mountain Trail 
(#4), and the Bowl Trail (#6), Canon Brook Trail (#19), 
and Eagle Lake Trail (#42). Additionally, many step- 
ping stones added during later periods closely resem- 
ble this style of VIA/VIS work (Figs. 5-54 to 5-57). 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

Fig. 5-54 Although these original VIS bog-style stepping stones 
on the Asticou Trail (#49) have settled into the ground, the 
irregularity of stone sizes can still be discerned. 

Fig. 5-55 These VIA bog-style stepping stones are located on on 
the Gorham Mountain Trail (#4). 

Stream-style VIA/VIS stepping stones include the 
more substantial stones used at wide, shallow stream 
crossings, where the flow of water is constant. They 
are defined by larger blocks of stone, which were 
often cut, and set to exacting standards. This style of 
stones appears to have been the first choice for stream 
crossings by the VIA/VIS. This style of stepping stone 
accounts for nearly all the stream crossings of this era, 
excluding crossings where the banks of the stream are 
particularly steep. (Bridges and culverts were the alter- 
natives used when stepping stones were not feasible.) 

This style of stepping stone was used on many of 
the endowed and memorial paths. One outstanding 
example was constructed circa 1915 at the outlet of The 
Tarn on the Kane Path (#17). These stepping stones 
are still in relatively good condition, but as the water 
level has risen, the stones have become less exposed 
than they were historically. Several other examples of 
this style of stepping stone can still be seen throughout 
the trail system. There are several on the Asticou Trail 
(#49), where some stones remain in place and others 
have been dislodged over time. A set can also be seen 
on the Andrew Murray Young Path (#25), although 
some of these stones have settled below the water level 
of the stream (Figs. 5-58 to 5-65). 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

Stepping stones were rarely used on CCC-era trails, 
and there are few extant examples of work from this 
period. On the Flying Mountain Trail (#105), a series 
of sixty-eight stepping stones is extant at the northern 
end of the trail. According to Trails Foreman Gary 
Stellpflug, these stones predate the 1970s. However, 
their construction is inferior to other CCC work on the 
remainder of the trail, indicating they may or may not 
have been a part of the original construction. Most of 
these stepping stones have been overlaid with bogwalk 
by the NPS Trails Crew (Fig. 5-66). 

One documented example of CCC-era stepping stones 
is located on the Ladder Trail (#64). During the 1930s, 
the lower part of the trail was reconstructed by the 
CCC under the direction of George Dorr. Part of the 


Chapter 5: Crossings; C. Stepping Stones 

Fig. 5-56 These bog-style stepping stones on the Bowl Trail (#6) 
may be original VIA work. 

Fig. 5-57 These bog-style stepping stones on the Canon Brook 
Trail (#19) are in the VIA/VIS style, but it is not known if these are 
original trail features. 

Fig. 5-58 Miss Cottoriet and Miss Grant stroll on the Tarn stepping stones near the entrance to the Kate Path a year or so after the the 
stones' installation in ca. 1916. The water level is down slightly, revealing the actual size of the stones. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

work included the installation of stepping stones over 
a small stream near the trailhead (Figs. 5-67 to 5-69). 

In both cases, the CCC work did not vary significantly 
from the earlier VIA/VIS styles of stepping stone 
construction. They relied on the precedents set forth 
by earlier trail builders when choosing the appropriate 
construction style for stepping stones. 

NPS/Mission 66 

No Mission 66-era stepping stones have been found in 
the trail system. 

National Park Service 

From the 1970s to the 1990s, stepping stones were 
often used as a stopgap measure to cross wet areas 
on trails of any era. Such sections were usually con- 
structed of small, often round stones, stuck in the mud, 
and are almost always easily distinguishable from any 
historical work. More recently in 2002, large bog-style 
stepping stones were installed on the Jordan Pond 
Loop Trail (#39) to replace a section of small, inef- 
fective stepping stones along the northern beach area 
(Figs. 5-70). 

Fig. 5-59 A circa 1916 view of the VIA large-scale stepping stones 
across the Tarn outlet. Note the even curve of the layout, and 
that the stones are equal to the width of the trail. 

Fig. 5-60 A contemporary view of the Tarn stepping stones, 
looking west toward trailhead of Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16). 


Stepping stones were predominantly used during the 
VIA/VIS periods, where the two styles of stepping stone 
construction originated. The characteristics of all historic 
stepping stones at Acadia can be traced to this period. 
Some sets of stepping stones were added during later 
historic eras, but generally other features like raised tread, 
bridges, and bogwalk were relied on for crossing shal- 
low streams and wet areas. All later additions of stepping 
stones are based on the historic VIA/VIS styles. 

Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

No evidence of stepping stone use has been found. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Stepping stones were introduced to the system. Two styles 
were generally used, one for boggy areas and another for 
crossing wide, shallow streams. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Stepping stones were rarely used and no new styles were 
introduced. Raised tread was used to cross wet areas, and 
bridges and culverts were used to cross streams. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Stepping stones were rarely used and no new styles were 
introduced. Raised tread and culverts were used to cross 
wet areas. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Stepping stones were used sporadically to cross wet areas 
and streams. No historic precedent was followed in the 
style of stepping stone used. 


Chapter 5: Crossings; C. Stepping Stones 

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Fig. 5-61 This circa 1920 postcard view shows original stream-style stepping stones on the Asticou Trail (#49) crossing Harbor Brook. 
These stones probably date to the trail's improvements by the Northeast Harbor VIS and Seal Harbor VIS in the early 1900s. 

Fig. 5-62 By the 1990s, the set of VIS stepping stones shown in the previous image had been dislodged and were no longer 
However, some of the stones were recovered from downstream and incorporated into piers and abutments for this recently 
Ideally, the bridge should be removed and the stepping stones reset as they were originally. 

in place, 
built bridge. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 5-63 Another set of original VIS stream-style stepping stones 
at a crossing on the Asticou Trail (#49). 

Fig. 5-64 This set of VIS stepping stones on the Asticou Trail (#49) 
is one of the longer sets on the trail. Originally, the stones likely 
spanned the entire stream, but now a recently built wooden 
bridge crosses the water channel. 

Fig. 5-65 Some of the original VIA stream-style stepping stones 
at this stream crossing on the Andrew Murray Young Path (#25) 
have sunk below the water level. 

Fig. 5-66 Stepping stones on the Flying Mountain Trail (#105) 
could be from the CCC period. Bogwalk has been installed over 
the narrow, ineffective stones. 


Chapter 5: Crossings; C. Stepping Stones 

Fig. 5-67 A 1930s CCC photograph of a set of stepping stones 
installed across a small stream near the Ladder Trail (#64) 
trailhead during the CCC rehabilitation of the trail. 

Fig. 5-68 The CCC stepping stones on the Ladder Trail (#64) 
shown in Fig. 5-67 as they appear today. 

Fig. 5-69 A side view of the CCC stepping stones shown in the 
previous two figures. 

Fig. 5-70 Replacement bog-style stepping stones installed by NPS 
in 2002. Note the even curve, level, flat tops, and crushed rock. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


1. Use of Stepping Stones 

Issue: The predominant use of stepping stones 
occurred during the VIA/VIS period. There is no his- 
torical precedent for their widespread use throughout 
the system during other historical periods. This may 
limit their contemporary use. 

Treatment Guidelines: The use of stepping stones will 
be dictated by historic precedent. The style chosen 
will be based on whether the location of the crossing 
is over a stream or an intermittently wet area. Existing 
or collapsed stepping stones will be rebuilt or replaced 
in kind if they are original features, or are historically 
appropriate additions to the trail. New stepping stones 
may be added to historic trails when trail history, func- 
tion, and builder indicate they would have been used. 
However, because of the problems associated with 
stepping stones, in wet areas in which causeways are a 
viable solution they will be the first choice (see Chapter 
3). Stepping stones will not be used on trails on which 
there is no historical precedent for their use. 

2. Hiker Avoidance 

Issue: Stepping stones are more difficult to walk on 
than either raised tread or bridges. Hikers tend to 
walk around stepping stones if the surrounding area 
becomes dry, or otherwise easily traversed. This causes 
trail widening and braiding. 

Treatment Guidelines: To lessen hiker avoidance of 
stepping stones, stones should be as large and flat as 
historical precedent and available stone allow. They 
should be spaced no more than 1 foot apart. Obstacles 
such as dead logs and rocks should be used around the 
stepping stones to discourage hikers from veering from 
the trail. 

3. Constricted Water Flow 

Issue: Stream-style stepping stones can hinder the flow 
of water in the drainage path. If debris is not cleaned 
out regularly, they can become dams. Silt may also 
build up behind stepping stones if flow is particularly 
strong. In some cases, this may cause streams to erode 

the banks on either side of the stepping stones, widen- 
ing or changing course. 

Treatment Guidelines: In several areas, stream- 
style stepping stones must be cleaned annually and 
after severe rainstorms. In some cases, historic step- 
ping stones may not be maintainable. If a stream is 
constantly changing course around stepping stones, 
other solutions must be sought for a crossing, even 
in the case of historic work. A bridge may be needed 
to span the stream, or one or two stones may need to 
be removed and that shorter gap spanned by a small 
bridge. This alteration should only be made as a last 
resort, as it will substantially alter the historical charac- 
ter of the trail. 


All stepping stones must be set below organic soil on a 
firm foundation of mineral soil or rock. For individual 
stones, a hole is dug the size of the stone until mineral 
soil or rock is reached. For several stones in a long run, 
the whole area is excavated at least a foot wider than 
the average stone width, and crushed rock is used as 
bed in the excavated area. 

1. Stream-Style Stepping Stones (Fig. 5-71) 

Since this style of stepping stone is intended primar- 
ily for stream crossings, there should be no more than 
fifteen stones in each run. Large, rectangular, cut or 
naturally shaped stones of similar size should be used. 
They should be a minimum of 2 cubic feet in volume: 
at least 12 inches wide, 18 inches long, and 8 inches 
deep. Stones should be set in a uniform line, with a 
level treadway, and equal spacing between stones, 
ideally 12 inches. 

The stones are set directly into the streambed or upon 
other base stones to achieve the appropriate height. 
Blocking under stepping stones should be completely 
under the stone to allow for maximum water move- 
ment; water flows not only between the stepping 
stones, but also between the footings. 


Chapter 5: Crossings; C. Stepping Stones 

All stones are centered and flush at tops 

Blocking is 
under stones 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 

Fig. 5-71 Stream-style stepping stones. 

Stepping stones vary 
in size and shape 

Usually built 
on rock 

Subgrade anchored 
well below surface 

__ - 

Fig. 5-72 Bog-style stepping stones. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

2. Bog-Style Stepping Stones (Fig. 5-72) 

As a rule, these stepping stones are constructed on top 
of a bed of stone rubble or mounded soil tall enough to 
lift the stones at least 12 inches above the terrain. The 
rubble base is constructed like the subgrade of a wall- 
less causeway and should extend at least 6 inches into 
the ground, farther if the ground is soft, and extend 
beyond the sides of the stepping stones. 

These stones should vary in size and shape, both 
between sets and within the same set of stepping 
stones. Stones should have between 1 and 6 square 
feet of stepping surface. Steps are generally gapped 
at regular intervals, up to 12 inches. Some stones may 
abut. Though usually not uniform in stone size, the set 
of stepping stones should be laid out in a straight or 
uniformly curving line, maintain a level treadway with 
flat or nearly flat stone tops, and generally form a line 
that is uniform in width, varying from 1 to 3 feet. Since 
these stepping stones are intended to cross boggy or 
seasonally wet areas, the runs can be much longer than 
stepping stones intended for stream crossings. Some 
extant runs of these stepping stones are over 100 feet 
in length. 


25 Bar Harbor VIA 1906 Annual Report. 

26 Bar Harbor VIA 1902, 1904, 1906 Annual Reports. 

27 Bar Harbor VIA 1926 Annual Report. 

28 Guy B. Arthur, Civilian Conservation Corps Field Training: 
Construction of Trails (1937), 15. 

29 Albert H. Good, Park and Recreation Structures (National Park 
Service, 1938), Part 1, 175-76. 

30 Ibid. 

31 Good, Part 1, 175-76. 

32 Robert C. Birkby, Lightly on the Land: The SCA Trail-Building and 
Maintenance Manual (Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1996), 198. 


1. Check for loose, shifted, or sunken stones. 
Rebuild footings and reset steps as necessary. 

2. Cut out excess vegetation that may impede the 
flow of water between stones or obscure stones. 

3. Clean out leaf dams and built-up mud if necessary. 


Fig. 6-1 Retaining features on this section of the Schiff Path (#15) include retaining walls and coping stones. These elements hold the 
tread and steps in place, and provide guidance for the hiker, perhaps preventing a misstep off the trail. Photograph circa 1920. 


Retaining Structures 









our types of retaining structures are used at 
Acadia as essential elements of trail construc- 
tion and maintenance. 

A. Checks 

B. Coping Stones 

C. Retaining Walls 

D. Log Cribs 

Each of these features serves a different type of retain- 
ing function. Checks are built into the tread and are 
buried at tread height. They hold back the tread mate- 
rial, preventing erosion and/or gullying of the trail 
surface. Coping stones are stones set at the edge of a 
treadway. They may be the top course of a retaining 
wall, or they may serve some retaining functions them- 
selves (Fig. 6-1). Coping stones also serve to delineate 
the edge of a treadway and guide hikers, as well as hav- 
ing aesthetic value. Retaining walls typically hold back 
soil on the uphill side of the trail, or retain the tread 
itself when used downslope of the trail corridor. They 
are often used with bench construction. 

Note: Nearly all historic features on Acadia's trails are 
built of stone. Generally, stone is the most appropri- 
ate material to use in construction of new features or 
rehabilitation of existing features. However, in some 
cases log structures, including log checks and log cribs, 
may be used. For instructions on how to determine 
when log work is appropriate, see the last section of 
this chapter. 



Checks are rows of stones used to retain the treadway 
from moving in the direction of the trail on graded 
slopes. They are often used to rehabilitate an eroded 
area where the original trail surface has washed away 
and a gully has formed. The rows of stones are set 
perpendicular to the trail with high contact between 
them. The checks are backfilled with rubble and 
then covered with a top coat of tread material, or left 
exposed at the top. To prevent failure of the checks 
due to continued erosion or a lack of maintenance, 
the bottom of each check stone is placed at an eleva- 
tion below the top elevation of the preceding downhill 
row of check stones. The checks act as "hidden steps" 
underneath the tread surface, holding back, or "check- 
ing" the uphill fill material. In worst-case scenarios 
where tread material wears away and is not replaced, 
checks hold the remaining treadway in a series of flat 
terraces (Figs. 6-2 & 6-3). 

Note: Log checks may be used in certain situations; 
however, these are usually constructed as log cribs and 
will be discussed in the last section of this chapter. 

Fig. 6-2 Although a standard feature in other trail systems, 
particularly in the Western parks, checks have only been used at 
Acadia since 1995 when these were first installed on the Ocean 
Path (#3). The slope at this location is approximately 15 percent, 
and after five years there has been a loss of approximately 3 
inches of tread material. 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; A. Checks 


The use of checks is a relatively recent introduction to 
the trail system and was not traditionally used during 
the VIA/VIS, CCC, or Mission 66 eras. 

Historically, sections of woodland, oceanside, and 
summit trails built by the VIA/VIS and CCC were 
gravel surfaced, winding up and down gentle slopes. 
Many of these trails were located in areas where runoff 
was a continued problem, and often the trail itself was 
the only place for the water to travel. In the early days 
of relatively light trail use, there were fewer erosion 
problems, and gullies that did form were often left 
untreated. The native gravel tread remains on flat or 
very dry sections of trail without the need for retention 
features. Growing park visitation led to an increase 
in trail usage. The additional foot traffic resulted in a 
looser tread that was more susceptible to erosion. At 
the same time, a decrease in the maintenance of drain- 
age features was a major contributor to greater erosion 
of many of the trails, resulting in increased gullying 
and rutting. In an effort to curb the erosion problem, 
the use of stabilization methods, like log cribbing and 
log checks, was introduced to the trail system. The 
most recent feature added to mitigate the problem are 
stone checks. 


1. Trail Erosion 

Issue: With current heavy trail use, inadequately 
installed or maintained drainage, and poorly placed 
or designed trails, sloped sections become increas- 
ingly unstable and susceptible to erosion. If left 
"unchecked," sloped tread can eventually become an 
eroding gully. 

Treatment Guidelines: Although checks are not a 
construction method used during the pre-VIA/VIS, 
VIA/VIS, CCC, or Mission 66 periods, they are a rec- 
ommended addition to the trail system. With proper 
use and maintenance, stone checks are an effective 
trail feature for use in restoring and maintaining the 

Fig. 6-3 This section of the Beech Mountain Loop Trail (#113) 
is a perfect candidate for the use of checks to reverse ongoing 
erosion and tread loss. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

It is probable that no tread stabilization was needed due to 
relatively light use of trails and well-maintained drainage 
features. Tread stabilization was not incorporated into the 
design of gently sloped trails. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Checks were not incorporated into the design of sloped 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Checks were not incorporated into the design of sloped 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Checks were not incorporated into the design of sloped 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Stone checks were introduced as increased use of trails 
and lack of maintenance of drainage features required 
extensive tread stabilization with retention features. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

tread surface at its original grade, thereby preserving 
the historical appearance of the tread. Ideally, checks 
should be used on any grade greater than five percent 
on which a smooth, surfaced treadway is desirable; 
they can also be used with local fill material to restore 
gullies on any trail, including unconstructed tread. 


Checks are used to stabilize sloped sections of trail that 
have eroded or have the potential to gully. The use of 
checks, cribbing, or steps is especially important on 
trail grades when it is not possible to shed water from 
the trail surface through the use of drainage structures, 
like water dips or water bars. Checks may also be an 
option when it is desirable to maintain a continuous 
sloping surface without steps. 

Checks can be considered a method of tread stabili- 
zation for grades of less than 20 percent. For greater 
grades and in areas where it is not critical to maintain 
an even slope, consider using steps or terraced steps as 
an alternative (see Chapter 7). 

To determine placement of the checks, set a string line 
from the bottom of the slope to the top. This estab- 
lishes the uniform height to which the top of all checks 
will be set. Check stones will be set in rows across the 
treadway and extend into the embankment on each 
side of the trail a minimum of 8 inches. If there is no 
embankment, a retaining wall or a living berm (such 
as for "wall-less causeway") should be constructed to 
lock the checks to each other and to retain the tread. 
The top of the finished check should be a level, flat 
surface with contact between each stone within Vi inch 
of the check's top, and toward the front of the check. 
The top of the finished check should be level with and 
perpendicular to the grade string at that place in the 

Checks should be placed evenly along the trail accord- 
ing to the slope. The frequency of checks is deter- 
mined by the desired height of the risers that will result 
when the material has eroded to level behind each 
check. Each riser should be no more than 8 inches. The 
number of checks is determined by figuring the overall 
rise of a section of trail and dividing by the desired 
riser height. Distance between checks is determined 

Typical gully before checks 

Rocks set header-style 

Contact is high 

and tight 

(within 1" of 


Checks extend 1' min 
beyond treadway into 
bank or wall 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Bailer 

Fig. 6-4 Details for the installation of checks 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; A. Checks 

by dividing the overall length of a trail piece by the 
number of checks to be constructed. 

For instance, if a 6-inch rise (typical size) is desired on 
a 64-foot section of trail with an overall rise of 8 feet 
(96 inches), then to determine the number of checks, 
divide 96 inches by 6 inches, which equals sixteen 
checks. The distance between the checks will be the 
length of the section (64 feet) divided by the number of 
checks (sixteen), or 4 feet. 

In all cases the bottoms of check stones shall be deep 
enough that they are firmly set into the ground and will 
not become exposed. The elevation at the bottom of a 
row of checks will usually be six to 8 inches lower than 
the top of the previous downslope row of checks. This 
will ensure that when erosion of the tread material 
occurs, the checks will not be undermined and the fill 
will continue to be held in place. 

The ideal orientation of the stone is header-style, but 
cake setting may be used, and even toast if half or more 
of the stone is buried beneath the height of the next 

lower check. High contact should be within 1/4 inch 
of the trail surface if a smooth gravel surface is desired, 
and within 1 inch in woodland settings; contact else- 
where between stones is not necessary. Lower gaps 
between stones are blocked, and checks are blocked 
and crushed firmly into place from both sides. The row 
of check rocks should be firmly squeezed toward the 
center from both ends, either by wedge rocks jammed 
between the end rocks and existing earth or rocks, 
or by large rocks (2 cubic feet or more) set deep in 
the ground at the edges of the checks, such as on the 
downhill side of a bench. 

After checks are set, backfill on the upslope side with 
stone rubble to fill in the eroded trail section. Finally, 
cover the top of the rubble and checks with tread 

Figures 6-5 to 6-8 show the installation process for 
checks and rehabilitation of an eroded tread on the 
Ocean Path (#3). The eroded tread is excavated to 
allow installation of the checks. A retaining wall is 
constructed, and the checks are installed with tight and 

Fig. 6-5 Eroded trail section on the Ocean Path (#3) before check Fig. 6-6 Checks, wall, and rubble infill in place, 



Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

high contact points, at the original grade. The checks 
are backfilled with rubble, and the tread surfacing is 
installed to cover the checks and establish the desired 
new grade. 

As shown in Figures 6-9 & 6-10 after approximately 
three years of use, the checks on the Ocean Path (#3) 
are becoming exposed as the gravel begins to wear 
away from the surface of the trail. Eventually, if left 
alone, this situation will create a series of terraced 

steps along the trail. This may be avoided by a periodic 
application of gravel on the trail's surface to cover 
the checks and maintain the grade. However, even if 
this maintenance is not performed, these features will 
continue to serve their intended function of prevent- 
ing gullying, since material will erode no lower than to 
level with the check retaining it and the check stones, 
being locked in behind each other (if well built), can- 
not work out of place. 

Fig. 6-7 Checks, wall, and rubble infill in place. 

Fig. 6-8 Rehabilitated section of the Ocean Path (#3) with new 

Fig. 6-9 The Ocean Path (#3) rehabilitation, approximately three 
years after completion. 

Fig. 6-10 After approximately three years, there is slight erosion 
of the tread, but no gullying is present on the Ocean Path (#3). 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; B. Coping Stones 



Without cyclic maintenance, including the replace- 
ment of lost surface material, trail surface erosion will 
eventually make "terrace steps" out of a section of trail 
that has been checked. However, if they are installed 
properly as described above, the checks will continue 
to retain the subsurface infill and maintain the integ- 
rity of the tread. If checks are spaced correctly, the 
experience of walking a gently sloping path will still be 
maintained on the terraced slope, unlike a section of 
trail with a staircase. 

Routine maintenance tasks include: 


Coping stones are set along the edge of a treadway and 
protrude above the height of the tread surface. These 
stones may be laid on the top course of a wall or set 
partially into the ground. Coping stones are usually 
gapped, but sometimes abut. Coping defines the edge 
or edges of the tread, provides guidance to hikers, 
assists the integrity of retaining walls, and in some 
cases supports tread material, stone paving, or steps 
(Fig. 6-11). 

1. Make sure checks remain firmly set into the trail. 

2. Prevent "terracing" of the trail by adding a top- 
dressing of tread material over the checks as they 
become exposed from erosion of tread. 

3. If the tread is eroding too quickly, or checks are 
not holding subsurface fill, reevaluate whether 
the slope may be too steep for use of checks and 
implement other options, such as terracing or 

Coping wall refers to any section of coping stones 
near or touching each other. 

Piled coping is the same as scree (see Chapter 9, 
Section E). 

Laid coping is a laid wall built along the trail above 
the level of the tread. Laid coping is similar to a stone 
fence (Fig. 6-12). 

Fig. 6-11 Large and medium-sized coping stones defining the edges of the Stratheden Path (#24), circa 1920s. 


Acadia Trails treatment plan 

Coping retaining wall refers to a coping wall that aids 
in the retention of the tread material, holding the tread 
higher than the ground on the other side of the coping. 
A coping retaining wall may retain gravel, stone pave- 
ment, or soil (Fig. 6-13). 

Note: The term "coping stones" is not typically applied 
to hiking trail systems. However, at Acadia there is 
extensive coping on some of the highly crafted trails 
that closely resembles the coping stone work used on 
the island's carriage road system. In some locations, it 
is likely that the stonework was carried out by the same 
crews, particularly where the trail and carriage road 
systems connect. 

Fig. 6-12 Laid coping wall on the Perpendicular Trail (#119). 



Prior to the VIA/VIS path work, coping stones were 
used along roads to help guide horses and to keep 
breakaway carriages on the road. It is likely that its 
presence then served as the model for the use of cop- 
ing on the trail system. However, there is no evidence 
that coping appeared on the trail system until the 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

The VIA/VIS used coping stones for both guidance 
and retention. Early in the period, stones tended to be 
uncut, varied greatly in size, and were set at irregular 
intervals. With the creation of the memorial trails, trail 
work in general became more highly crafted and cop- 
ing stones were more likely to be cut, uniform in size, 
and evenly spaced. However, there appears to be little 
consistency in the construction of these features and 
coping style often varied between VIA/VIS districts, 
builders, and differing terrain. Often a single stretch 

Fig. 6-13 This section of coping retaining wall has larger coping 
stones atop a relatively small wall on the Asticou Trail (#49). 

Fig. 6-14 This coping along ledge on the Upper Ladder Trail 
(#334) was likely constructed by Bar Harbor VIA in the late 1800s. 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; B. Coping Stones 

of coping wall might change from coping stones for 
guidance only, to coping retaining wall, to piled coping 

Many of the staircases built by the VIA/VIS contain 
remarkable use of coping retaining wall. On the Upper 
Ladder Trail (#334), built circa 1896, coping retain- 
ing wall, with stones as tall as 3 feet, are set on ledge 
to retain steps, which are small in comparison (Fig. 
6-14). Some of the coping stones are cut blocks. These 
may have been added by the CCC when the trail was 
improved in the 1930s. Smaller, less crafted coping was 
used with stairs on many other trails, including the 
lower portion of the Penobscot Mountain Trail (#47), 
which was improved in 1919, and the Asticou Trail 
(#49), improved in the 1890s and thereafter. 

However, many staircases of the era, including some 
which are otherwise highly crafted, were built with- 
out coping. For example, many trails built under the 
direction of Waldron Bates had steps but no cop- 
ing, including the lower Eagles Crag Trail (#343), the 
Gorham/Cadillac Cliffs Trail (#5), and the Giant Slide 

Fig. 6-15 A 1906 image of steps constructed without sidewall or 
coping stones on the Giant Slide Trail (#63). 

Trail (#63) (Fig. 6-15). Similarly, trails built under the 
direction of Rudolph Brunnow in the 1910s on the 
east side of Champlain Mountain, such as the Preci- 
pice Trail (#11) and the Beehive Trail (#7), and several 
Northeast Harbor trails, such as the Maple Springs 
Trail (#58) and Hadlock Brook Trail (#57), do not use 
coping at all. 

Nearly all the graveled paths were built with some 
coping. Stones pulled from the treadway to level the 
walking surface could be simply placed nearby in the 
coping wall. This technique was also used to cre- 
ate historical scree and on some paths, coping wall 
alternates with scree. On most trails the appearance of 
coping wall is directly correlated to the amount and 
type of stones in the landscape, such as on the Asticou 
Trail (#49), which travels through ledge and woods. 
Stones were used as coping retaining wall to retain 
the stone base and gravel surface. The effectiveness of 
these walls depends largely on the size and number of 
gaps between the stones; the more gaps, the less that 
is retained. A comparison of areas of coping retaining 
wall on the Jordan Pond Path (#39) bears this out. One 
of the most successful sections of coping retaining wall 
on a graveled path is on the Wild Gardens Path (#354), 
where continuous coping stones up to 5 feet long and 
3 feet high retain a bench of crushed stone base and 
gravel paving. 

The memorial trails constructed under the direction 
of George Dorr present the most remarkable use of 
coping with steps and stone pavement, though some 
contain no coping. The Kane Path (#17) and Kurt 
Diederich's Climb (#16), both begun in circa 1913, 
avoid coping even when the routes lead them through 
stone talus with suitable stones surrounding the tread- 
way. The Homans Path (#349), also begun in 1913, and 
subsequent Beachcroft (#13), Emery (#15), and Schiff 
Paths (#15), used coping extensively (Figs. 6-16 & 
6-17, also Fig. 6-1). There was also inconsistent use of 
coping on graveled paths built under the direction of 
Dorr in the Sieur de Monts area. The Stratheden Path 
uses coping extensively, while the Jesup Path has none. 
Similarly, the Gurnee Path (#352) and Andrew Murray 
Young Path (#25), both completed in the 1920s, use 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

coping sporadically (Fig. 6-18). In the Seal Harbor VIS 
district, the Van Santvoord Trail (#450), completed in 
1915, used coping only with its steps. 

In general, the look of the coping reflects the look of 
the steps and walls on a particular trail. It is logical 

Fig. 6-16 Large coping stones are used along the lower section of 
the Beachcroft Path (#13) to help define the trail sides. 

that the largest coping stones and most highly crafted 
coping walls in the system were constructed during the 
same era. The coping stones on the Emery Path (#15) 
and the Homans Path (#349), which used large, cut 
stones for steps, walls and culverts, are prime exam- 
ples. The coping wall on these trails is constructed of 
large, rectilinear stones set at evenly spaced intervals. 
While the Beachcroft Path (#13) coping is generally 
medium-sized, the huge blocks at its base, up to 18 
cubic feet, are also among the largest in the system, 
probably set there to discourage the cutting of switch- 
backs. Interestingly, the coping on this particular trail 
is set the most like a carriage road — deliberately and 
evenly spaced. Perhaps the 1926 date of this work, 
which was at the same time as much of the carriage 
road work, is a clue here. In keeping with the principle 
of similarity, the differently sized and shaped, uncut 
coping stones of the Gurnee Path (#352) are in keeping 
with walls built of the same type of stone. 

Fig. 6-17 Evenly spaced coping stones on the Beachcroft Path 

Fig. 6-18 Coping stones are used sparingly on the Andrew 
Murray Young Path (#25). Here they are used in conjunction with 
stone pavement. 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; B. Coping Stones 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

As in the VIA/VIS period, the decision to use of coping 
by the CCC was determined on a site-specific basis. 
On CCC summit trails built in the 1930s, coping is 
used extensively with steps on the Perpendicular Trail 
(#119), but not on the Beech Cliff Ladder Trail (#106) 
(Figs. 6-19 & 6-20). Coping was also used on sections 
of the Valley Trail (#116) and the beginning of the 
Beech Mountain Loop Trail (#113) (Fig. 6-21). Of the 

Fig. 6-19 The CCC regularly used coping stones along stairways 
on the Perpendicular Trail (#119). They serve several purposes, 
including adding structural stability to the staircase and 
providing a definitive boundary for the trail edges. 

Fig. 6-21 Large coping stones marking a section of the Beech 
Mountain Loop Trail (#113). 

Fig. 6-20 Coping stones define the edge of the this small CCC staircase on the Perpendicular Trail (#119), circa 1934. 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

graveled shoreline paths, the CCC work on the Ocean 
Path (#3) has the most extensive use of coping. Along 
different segments of the trail, coping stones were 
installed on the roadside as the trail parallels Ocean 
Drive, or on the ocean side of the trail (Figs. 6-22 & 
6-23). In contrast, the Long Pond Trail (#118) has 
almost no coping on the mile and a half section of 
smooth gravel walkway along the pond. The CCC also 
added coping to earlier VIA trails. For example, they 
rebuilt the Ladder Trail (#64) and added coping. 

The CCC likely used the memorial trail work as a 
model for their coping style. CCC coping closely 
resembles the stonework on these earlier trails. Cut 
regular stairs, wall, and walkway are paired with cut, 
regularly spaced coping, such as on the Perpendicular 
Trail (#119). Similarly, uncut, natural stonework is 
paired with natural, more irregularly spaced coping, 
such as on the Valley Trail (#116). The Perpendicular 

Trail (#119) also contains laid coping wall on its steep, 
switchback sections. This may be the only example of 
laid coping in the trail system. 

NPS/Mission 66 

Mission 66 crews used coping in places, mainly along 
the outside edges of bench cuts, but not in every 
such case. A segment of trail along the Ship Harbor 
Nature Trail (#127) has sporadic coping. Some of 
this is comprised of large, discrete stones; some of 
unattractive, low coping retaining wall that may have 
once held some gravel. A 6-foot-high retaining wall on 
the Anemone Cave Trail (#369) is topped with large, 
attractive, continuous coping. 

National Park Service 

Since the early 1970s, NPS crews have replaced 
toppled coping with original or similar stones on some 
trails, such as the Beachcroft Path (#13) and the Ocean 

Fig. 6-22 Coping stones newly installed by the CCC and 
Rockefeller's road crew between Ocean Drive and the Ocean Path 
(#3), circa 1934. 

Fig. 6-23 Coping stones were also installed between the Ocean 
Path (#3) and the shoreline, photograph circa 1934. 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; B. Coping Stones 

Path (#3). They have also added coping to some trails, 
including those just named, on which coping was 
already present. Additionally, coping was added to 
nearly all new staircases, even where it did not exist 
historically, such as on the Precipice Trail (#11). 

Scree was introduced by the AMC in the early and 
mid-1990s. Scree filled the role previously assigned 
to coping stones and many trails with and without 
historical coping were treated with scree (see Chapter 
9, Section E). 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: The addition of coping stones to highly crafted 
trails may alter the trails' historic character if there is 
no precedent for coping stone use on those trails. 

Treatment Guidelines: Coping will not be added to a 
highly crafted trail without historic precedent. Before 
the decision to add coping is made, other options 
should be considered for providing the needed guid- 
ance or retention for the trail. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

Coping stones were used occasionally on area roads. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

There was extensive, but inconsistent, use of coping. 
Coping was used along steps, gravel, and stone paving 
to guide and retain, but there were many examples of all 
these features without coping. Coping stones were typi- 
cally similar to other stonework on the same trail in terms 
of being either cut or uncut, of regular or irregular size, 
shape, and spacing. The most spectacular coping in the 
system appeared on some of the memorial trails late in the 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

There was extensive, yet inconsistent, use of coping. 
Stones were nearly always used with steps, sometimes 
with gravel tread. Laid coping wall was first used on the 
Perpendicular Trail (#119). Coping stones were typically 
similar to other stonework on the same trail — i.e., cut or 
uncut, regular or irregular size and spacing. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

There was occasional use of coping along bench cuts with 
stones resembling other stonework on same trail. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

There was some repair of toppled coping stones, and 
some new coping constructed on suitable trails. Coping 
was incorporated into all new staircases, regardless of 
precedent. Scree was introduced and used instead of cop- 
ing on several trails, including those originally constructed 
using coping. 

2. Use of Coping Stones at Summits 

Issue: On the summits, guidance measures like coping 
stone or scree are needed to prevent resource degrada- 
tion. However, there is no historic precedent for the 
use of coping stones on Acadia's summits. 

Treatment Guidelines: To provide guidance, indi- 
vidual coping stones may be placed in key summit 
areas along unconstructed, or minimally constructed 
treadway. Stones should appear as natural as possible. 
They should be spaced unevenly, with at least 10 feet 
between individual stones or groupings of three stones 
or less, and the stones should be uncut and resemble 
stone from the area. 

3. Use of Coping Stones with Staircases 

Issue: The use of coping along stone steps helps keep 
steps from slipping by providing weight and friction, 
and by holding blocking in place underneath steps. 
Smaller slab-laid steps can benefit greatly from well- 
laid coping wall. Also, stone steps are a common place 
for hiker wandering off trail, as many hikers prefer the 
graded ground nearby to the steps. Coping walls dis- 
courage this wandering. However, many historic trails 
did not have coping walls constructed in conjunction 
with steps. 

Treatment Guidelines: Coping will not be added to 
historical staircases originally constructed without it. 
Other methods will be found to support vulnerable 
slab-laid steps, such as rebuilding the supporting wall. 
For steps set in the ground, wall similar to coping may 



be brought up to the sides to hold them in place, but 
may not protrude above the height of the steps. If such 
wall is out of character, it should be buried with soil. 
Concealed ironwork may be used to support steps or 
staircases that are susceptible to collapsing. This use 
should be carefully documented. 

4. Coping Stones versus Scree 

Issue: Hikers wandering off the trail route and the 
resulting resource damage are significant reasons to 
define treadway edges. Coping stones and scree are 
two options for this; however, unlike scree, coping 
stones were used extensively during the historic peri- 
ods. Scree may be more effective in completely defin- 
ing the trail edges, thereby keeping hikers on the path, 
yet it also alters the aesthetic character of the trail. 

Treatment Guidelines: For areas where resource 
damage from trampling is likely, such as mountain 
summits, coping stones are the preferred alternative 
for defining the trail edges. However, scree may be 
considered in certain cases where coping or other 
options are not successful (see Chapter 9, Section E). 

5. Trail Erosion 

Issue: Because coping wall, by definition, is higher than 
the treadway, in many instances it can act as a barrier, 
keeping water from sheeting across the trail. This is a 
particular problem on bench cuts where the trail has a 
grade. A large volume of sheet water is trapped in the 
treadway and uses it as a drainage course, eroding the 
trail and creating a gully. This problem can be seen on 
many trails, including the Stratheden Path (#24), the 
Pond Trail (#20) and the Valley Trail (#116). Because 
there are no gaps at all to allow water through, con- 
tinuous coping is the most problematic wall type. 

Treatment Guidelines: In most cases, adequate drain- 
age can be achieved without removing coping stones. 
Gaps between coping stones can be used as drains. 
Where coping wall is continuous, often drainage paths 
can still be constructed underneath coping stones. In 
many cases, the solution is to restore the height of the 
treadway, such that water sheets over lower stones in 
a coping wall. However, in those cases in which none 

of the above is possible, and drainage is needed to 
preserve the integrity of a treadway, individual coping 
stones can be moved or removed to provide drainage 
passages. In such cases, the same stone, or a different 
stone, should be set in its place such that its top is flush 
with the treadway. In most cases, removed portions of 
a wall should be no longer than a single stone. 


There are four general requirements that all coping 
must meet. 

1. Coping stones must rise above the level of the 
treadway in order to be coping. If the historical 
work being reconstructed or imitated does not 
fulfill this requirement, it is not coping and should 
not be repaired as such. 

2. Coping stones must be at the border of the tread- 
way, such that the inside edge of the stone corre- 
sponds to the outside edge of the treadway. 

3. New or repaired coping must resemble the other 
coping of a given trail or trail section in regards to 
size of stone, shape of stone, whether stone is cut 
or uncut, type of stone, frequency of placement of 
individual stones, and type of coping wall. Because 
the character of coping is so trail-specific, crucial 
specifications for the construction of coping will 
be developed on a trail-by-trail basis in the indi- 
vidual trails section of this document. 

4. Coping stones must be solid, so that they do not 
move when kicked, pushed, or stood upon. 


1. Check for gaps in coping walls and reset any 
tumbled coping stones. Replace missing coping 
stones according to specifications above. 

2. In places crucial for the maintenance of trail drain- 
age, keep gaps between coping stones open down 
to the level of the treadway or floor of the drainage 
leading to them. 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; C. Retaining Walls 



A retaining wall is any wall that holds one portion of 
ground higher than another. On a trail, a retaining wall 
may retain the treadway itself or the ground on the 
uphill side of the treadway. Retaining walls are used to 
retain a side slope that is too steep to be stable without 
retention. In general, retaining walls are found only on 
highly crafted trails on which they are used to maintain 
a specific grade or trail alignment. 

Stone retaining walls in which stones sit on top of each 
other may be laid, rubble, fitted, piled, or some com- 
bination of these. Retaining walls in which stones are 
laid in a single row are called "single-tier walls." A new 
technique in use at Acadia is a combination of retain- 
ing wall and sloped crushed rock, called "crush wall." 

A laid wall contains stones set beside and on top of 
one another to create a vertical or substantially vertical 
face (Fig. 6-24). The construction of laid walls uses 
established dry-laid stonework methods like maintain- 
ing tight contacts between stones, breaking the joints, 
and filling the core of the wall. The face of a laid wall 
may be smooth or rough. A laid wall with the stones 
set in even, horizontal rows is called a tiered wall. 
Laid walls are the strongest and most durable retaining 
walls, but also the most difficult to build properly. 

A rubble wall uses stones that are set less carefully 
than in a laid wall. The joints in a rubble wall are not 
always broken and the face is irregular and contains 
gaps. A rubble wall depends on large stones and shal- 
low batter for durability (Figs. 6-25 & 6-26). Batter is 
the slope, or relationship of rise to run in the face of a 
wall. A wall that rises 2 feet tall and slopes back 1 foot 
from its foundation has a 2:1 batter. The steepest batter 
is vertical, whereas a very shallow-batter rubble wall 

Fig. 6-24 A recently constructed laid retaining wall on the Ocean 
Path (#3) at Otter Point. 

Fig. 6-25 An original rubble-laid retaining wall on the 
abandoned Gurnee Path (#352). 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 6-26 The remains of an early VIA/VIS stone rubble retaining 
wall on the lower Eagles Crag Trail (#343). 

Fig. 6-27 This circa-1890 image of the Shore Path in Bar Harbor 
(#301) shows the early use of both sidewall and laid retaining 

is 1:1, in which the face is a 45-degree angle from the 

A fitted wall is a rubble wall constructed of stones that 
are simply fit into spaces left by existing stones in a 
talus slope. 

A piled wall is the least structured retaining wall. It 
consists of a row or group of randomly piled stones 
that retain material. Piled walls depend on very shallow 
batter to maintain their position and are usually less 
than 3 feet tall to avoid collapse. 

A stone retaining wall with a single tier of stones may 
be either a sidewall or a coping retaining wall; either 
of these may be referred to as single-tier wall. 

A sidewall is a low, single-tier retaining wall that 
retains a gravel treadway. It is the type of wall used in 
conjunction with causeways (see Chapter 3, Section B) 
(Figs. 6-27 & 6-28). 

Fig. 6-28 CCC side wall on the Long/Great Pond Trail (#118). 

Fig. 6-29 A coping retaining wall and checks along a section of 
the Ocean Path (#3) that was rehabilitated by the Acadia trails 
crew in 1997. 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; C. Retaining Walls 

A coping retaining wall is a low, single-tier wall that 
both retains the treadway or steps, and rises above it 
to act also as coping wall (see the previous section, 
"Coping Stones") (Fig. 6-29). 

A crush wall is a retaining feature that combines a 
foundation similar to that of a retaining wall with a top 
course like the edge of a wall-less causeway, including 
a cover of vegetation. This hybrid style is also called 
"root wall" because it is a way of retaining trail without 
destroying all the roots in an area. Crush wall is not 
an historical technique; however, because crush wall 
usually restores material to an eroded area and because 
it is largely obscured with vegetation, it has the appear- 
ance of historic bench cuts (Fig. 6-30). 

Any laid or rubble wall in which the stones are set so 
that they do not penetrate the core of the wall is called 
a veneer wall. Typically, veneer walls have limited 
strength and are not suitable for trail construction. 

Note: Retaining walls that are constructed of logs are 
discussed under "Log Cribs" later in this chapter. 

Fig. 6-30 New crush wall constructed by NPS in 2002 through 
heavily rooted area on the west side of the Jordan Pond Path 



Prior to the VIA/VIS there is no physical evidence 
or documentation for the use of retaining walls on 
Acadia's trails. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Beginning in the early 1900s many rubble retain- 
ing walls and a few laid walls were built by the Bar 
Harbor VIA under the direction of Waldron Bates. 
Contemporaries of Bates noted his skill for laying out 
a route "which makes quite easy passage through the 
wonderful rock scenery that had offered in the past 
almost unsurmountable obstacles to ordinary walk- 
ers." 33 To achieve these routes, Bates used retaining 
walls as well as his famed steps, though much less 
often. Bates paths that were constructed with retaining 
walls include the lower Eagles Crag Path (#343) built 
in 1905 and the Cadillac Cliffs Path (#5) built in 1906. 
Following Bates's death in 1909, the BHVIA noted 
that the Cadillac Cliffs Path was the "best illustration 
of engineering skill in path making." 34 Most of Bates's 
walls were rubble-laid. However, substantial sections 
of the Eagles Crag Path are supported with well-built, 
laid retaining wall, perhaps the first in the trail system. 

Multi-tiered retaining walls were seldom used by early 
VIA/VIS builders. Trail routes tended to follow the 
landscape rather than alter it and there was little need 
for constructed retaining walls. Low, single-tier walls 
were sufficient to hold the tread in place. The broad 
paths, such as Schooner Head Road Path (#362) and 
the Asticou Trail (#49), made extensive use of sidewall 
and coping retaining wall (Fig. 6-31). In some places, 
such as the Jordan Pond Seaside Path (#401), low piled 
retaining walls were built out of stones pulled from 
excavation for the treadway. 

In the few cases where more substantial retaining walls 
were required to achieve a route, the early builders 
preferred the use of single, large stones set as coping 
retaining wall over the use of multi-tiered wall. On the 
Wild Gardens Path (#354) a bench is retained on the 
steeper sections using a row of boulders up to 6 feet 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 6-31 A classic example of original coping retaining wall on 
the Wild Gardens Path (#354) using large single boulders for 

Fig. 6-32 VIA/VIS laid wall on the Beachcroft Path (#13). Stones 
have shifted due to "stack bonds" (unbroken, or "running 
joints") and areas of the wall in which three or more rocks are 
stacked on top of each other without overlapping the abutting 
stones. The weight of larger rocks on top as a coping layer is 
probably holding the wall together. The rough face, with some 
rocks jutting out, others inset, is a typical characteristic of walls 
on this trail as opposed to the Emery (#15) or Gurnee Path (#352) 
on which the walls have relatively smooth, uniform faces. 

long and 3 feet tall. Other examples of this technique 
can be found on the Jordan Cliffs Trail (#48) and at the 
original northern end of the Bear Brook Trail. How- 
ever, these trails contain sections of laid retaining wall 
as well, proving that the builders of these trails were 
familiar with the technique. 

More extensive use of retaining walls and coping 
stones occurred on the highly crafted memorial and 
endowed trails built under the direction of George 
Dorr between 1914 and 1916. This work is still evident 
on the Beachcroft (#13), Emery (#15), and Schiff Paths 
(#15), which contain dry-laid retaining walls and large 
coping stones (Fig. 6-32), some of which are secured 
with iron pins. 

During this period of VIA/VIS work, laid, rubble, 
piled, and coping retaining wall were all used. Dorr's 
endowed trails used the most laid retaining wall, but 
not the only tiered wall of the era. However, not all of 
Dorr's paths used laid wall. The Ladder Trail (#64) 
contained only single-tiered walls. The Homans Path 
(#349), the Beachcroft Path (#13), and the Emery Path 
(#15) have coping retaining, piled, rubble, and laid wall 
within a few hundred yards of each other. The Gurnee 
Path (#352) was constructed with hundreds of linear 
feet of laid retaining wall up to 20 feet high, and the 
Andrew Murray Young Path (#25) contained sporadic 
sections of low, laid wall. Both of these trails also made 
use of rubble wall, with the Gurnee Path (#352) con- 
taining examples of walls that are rubble at the bottom 
and laid at the top (Fig. 6-33). Brunnow trails used laid 
retaining walls mainly to support staircases and stone 

Of this era's laid walls, the style of construction was 
not consistent from trail to trail nor always within 
a trail. Emery Path (#15) retaining walls were con- 
structed of cut blocks laid in tiers to create a smooth 
face and consistent batter between 3:1 and 4:1. Walls 
on the Gurnee Path (#352) and Beachcroft Path (#13) 
were laid walls consisting of mostly uncut stone laid 
into a rough face with no discernible tiers. Nearly all 
the laid walls of this period had a course of coping 
stones on the top tier rising above the tread surface. 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; C. Retaining Walls 

These were gapped and regularly shaped, as on the 
Beachcroft Path (#13), or continuous and irregularly 
shaped, as on the Gurnee Path (#352) (see "Coping 

Rubble walls, many of them fitted, were also widely 
used during this time. Generally, rubble walls accom- 
panied other less highly crafted features on a trail. 
An exception is Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16), which 
is among the most highly crafted trails, and contains 
many rubble-laid walls with a shallow batter. The 
stonework at the northeastern end of the Jordan Pond 
Path (#39) is fitted and rubble laid wall built into a 
talus slope with no regard to batter or face. It is likely 
this work was done in the 1910s. Rudolf Brunnow's 
trails also used rubble walls for retention. Although he 
generally relied on iron rungs and rails for his cliff- 
side trails, he did use rubble and fitted retaining walls 
when retention was necessary. The horseshoe section 
on the Champlain Mountain East Face Trail (#12) is 
supported by mostly fitted wall, with a couple of small 
sections of laid wall (Fig. 6-34). 

Piled retaining wall was used in the later VIA/VIS 
period only to retain tread crossing moderately sloping 
ledge against the fall line. This use of piled retaining 
wall occurred on the abandoned lower portion of the 
Champlain Mountain East Face Trail (#12) and the 
upper section of the Beachcroft Path (#13), where it 
was supported by iron pins (Fig. 6-35). 

Coping retaining wall was used extensively in this 
era to hold steps and stone paving, though numerous 
examples of each were also constructed without cop- 
ing. In the case of the Stratheden Path (#24), coping 
retaining wall was used in the same way as it was by the 
early VIA/VIS builders — to retain gravel tread. This 
may be the only example of this use of coping retaining 
wall during the later VIA/VIS period. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

Very little CCC trail construction was done without 
the use of retaining walls. These features were often 
necessary because CCC trail design placed a premium 
on evenness of grade, wide bench cuts, and perma- 
nence of construction. Recommendations for the 

Fig. 6-34 Fitted retaining wall built into the talus slope on the 
Champlain Mountain East Face Trail (#12). 

Fig. 6-33 This retaining wall on the Gurnee Path (#352) is rubble 
at the bottom and laid at the top. 

Fig. 6-35 Original VIA/VIS piled wall on the Beachcroft Path (#13). 


Acadia trails treatment plan 

construction of rubble walls were dictated in CCC 
construction standards: "Where necessary to retain 
material on steep slope, a dry random rubble wall may 
be built along the downhill side of the trail" 35 (Fig. 

In addition to rubble retaining walls, the CCC also 
used laid walls and sidewalls along much of their gravel 
treadway. They did not use piled retaining walls. The 
decision to build rubble or laid wall seems to have 
been made according to two criteria. First, the vertical 
component dictated whether the shallower batter of a 
rubble wall was possible, and second, the visibility of 
the wall influenced its constructed appearance. More 
visible walls, such as those on switchbacks, tended to 
be laid, while those walls not visible from the trail were 
usually rubble walls. 

CCC rubble walls are virtually indistinguishable from 
those of the VIA/VIS. However, CCC laid walls are 
noticeably different. They have a shallower batter with 
an average slope of 3:1, are often multi-tiered walls 
built of cut blocks or naturally square stone, and have 
smooth faces. CCC laid walls are uniformly high in 
quality, while their rubble walls vary in quality. CCC 
laid walls use a higher percentage of small stones than 
other retaining walls, with faces of 8 inches square or 

NPS/Mission 66 

Retaining walls constructed during Mission 66 fol- 
lowed specifications for earlier CCC work. However, 
relatively few trails were added during the Mission 66 
period that required retaining walls, and the walls that 
were constructed by Mission 66 crews are generally 
lower in quality than work from previous eras. Some 
work remains; however, it is typically in a poor state of 
repair. Extant work includes sidewall retaining walls 
on the Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127) and rubble 
wall on the Beech Mountain Loop Trail (#113) (Figs. 
6-37 & 6-38). On the Anemone Cave Trail (#369), a 
20-foot-long by 6-foot-high section of laid wall sits 
atop a rubble wall, recalling the style of the walls on the 
Gurnee Path (#352). Though not well constructed, this 
Mission 66 work remains in good shape. It contains a 
top course of large coping stones, up to 6 cubic feet in 
size. The weight of these stones has probably kept the 
wall intact (Fig. 6-39). 

National Park Service 

By the 1970s, the NPS trails crew was faced with a 
backlog of repairs to collapsed retaining walls and 
washed-out, eroded trail sections. From the early 
1970s until the 1990s, many sections of retaining wall 
were repaired; however, styles of construction used 
were generally utilitarian with little emphasis on 

Nalural Slope of Talus 

Dry Rubble Wall 
K"— 4- 2f4o3'- 


Notf: Provide tread by building out 
rather than by removing malarial 


Surfacing of WTS?Mf.i •.*>' 
I j Fine Material ) 001} 

Clear inside comer ' *■ ■ ^ 

Leave no looae rocKs 
atthta poirrM 

k I L_^ 


Mini muni Base! 
2 -0' . 

•from inner bank. 

Parapet to be constructed 
where condrhons require it 
Pouldors can be used in dry wall 
•nappropriara places 

Slope V*: 1 

Dry Rubble Wall 

Obtain firm footing 
for wall. 


Fig. 6-36 CCC specifications for rubble retaining walls on bench construction. 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; C. Retaining Walls 

historical accuracy. Most repairs consisted of resetting 
or replacing toppled coping stones. Log cribbing and 
log retaining walls were introduced as an expedient 
alternative to stone retaining walls (Fig. 6-40). New 
stone wall construction and repairs used only near- 
vertical, tiered laid wall of varying quality, regardless 
of surrounding work or historical precedent. Untiered, 
rough-faced, laid wall on the Beachcroft Path (#13) 
was replaced with tiered, smooth-faced laid wall in 
1995, while a 6-foot-high vertical, tiered wall was built 
on the otherwise unconstructed Great Head Trail (#2). 
The majority of the retaining walls in need of repair 
were neglected. 

Beginning in the late 1990s, more care was taken to 
duplicate previous or historically similar retaining 
wall work. There was an emphasis on learning and 
practicing the techniques of wall-building used during 
the trail system's historic periods. In 2000, the Aca- 
dia trails crew hosted two instructors for week-long 
courses in wall building and traveled to several other 

work sites to trade knowledge and skills with other 
crews. To date, thousands of square feet of retain- 
ing wall have been constructed or rehabilitated in 
the appropriate style by the trails crew. The majority 
of these efforts have involved laid retaining wall, but 
work completed in 2001 included rehabilitating rubble 
and laid retaining walls on the Jordan Pond Path (#39) 
as well as constructing new crush walls (Figs. 6-41 to 

Fig. 6-38 Original Mission 66 rubble retaining wall on the Beech 
Mountain Loop Trail (#113). 




1 v* *i ; : fam 

1>4 " *w 


H&&£^< '«-; 

r ->■ ».i»Tk._.T »»."*• 1 "«BTi^BK>r - .W Hill 

Fig. 6-37 Original Mission 66 sidewall on the Ship Harbor Trail 

Fig. 6-39 This Mission 66 retaining wall on the Anemone Cave 
Trail (#369) consists of laid wall upon a rubble wall base. 



Fig. 6-40 Log features, like this log retaining wall on the Long/ 
Great Pond Trail (#118), have been introduced as a quick and 
cheap alternative to stone retaining walls, although they are not 
historically appropriate for the system. 

Fig. 6-41 This laid retaining wall on the Beachcroft Path (#13) 
was rehabilitated by the Acadia trails crew in 1999. 


1 K.->"' jST 

M-- 1 tB sft ' 



Fig. 6-43 Stone retaining wall construction on Jordan Pond Path 
(#39). The top course of stones are sloped in and set header-style 
with high contact, and the core is properly blocked. 

Fig. 6-44 Stone retaining wall constructed in 2001 on the Jordan 
Pond Path (#39) to retain the uphill side of the trail which 
receives heavy water flow. The wall was built in conjunction 
with a gravel-covered stone culvert, side drain, and walled 

Fig. 6-42 This rehabilitated laid stone retaining wall on a section 
of the Ocean Path (#3) was completed by the Acadia trails crew 
in 2000. 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; C. Retaining Walls 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

There is no evidence or documentation of the use of 
retaining walls prior to the VIA/VIS period. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Laid, rubble, piled, sidewall, and coping retaining walls 
were used in conjunction with surfacing and step reten- 
tion. There was little use of multi-tiered retaining walls 
early in the period when larger stones in single tiers were 
often used. Later trails used multi-tiered laid and rubble 
walls. Craftsmanship was consistent with other contem- 
porary features with walls varying greatly in style and 
quality, but consistent to specific builders. Pile retaining 
walls were used to retain low benches and on ledgeside 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Use of laid, rubble, and coping retaining walls reached its 
height of frequency and quality. Laid walls were generally 
tiered and smooth-faced. Laid walls were topped with a 
coping tier, either large single stones or a built wall above 
the treadway. The use of smaller stones increased, intro- 
ducing weakness into otherwise well-built walls. Rubble 
walls were used for expediency, while laid walls were used 
for steep rises, or when the wall is highly visible. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

The use of laid, rubble, and sidewall retaining walls 
attempted to follow previous work. However, much of the 
constructed work was of low quality. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Little retaining wall construction or repair was accom- 
plished by the NPS. Work that was undertaken included 
replacing toppled coping, and the rehabilitation of walls 
with a single style of tiered, laid wall, regardless of histori- 
cal precedent. The mid-1990s saw increased attention 
to the importance of maintaining historic character and 

1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: The addition of a retaining wall can solve prob- 
lems of tread and embankment loss on sidehill con- 
struction. However, many of the trails that need this 

kind of work are trails for which there is no precedent 
for building retaining walls. 

Treatment Guidelines: When the use of retaining 
walls would have an adverse impact on the trail's 
character, other options should be considered. Other 
retaining structures may appear less out of character 
than stone walls. For short blow-outs, single large 
stones can be used, rather than many smaller stones 
laid into a wall. For shallow blow-outs and retaining 
problems, berms can be created with soil, or, when 
more retention is necessary on unconstructed trails, 
log cribbing can be used in some instances, if certain 
criteria are met (see "Log Cribs"). If the addition of a 
wall is the only solution for a trail on which there is no 
precedent for the use of retaining walls, the structure 
should be obscured as much as possible. For example, 
a slope can be riprapped or walled, and then covered 
with debris and soil to minimize the visual impact of 
an added constructed feature to the trail. In areas in 
which the amount of retention needed is minimal, 
there is plenty of footing space outside the trail, and 
enough crushable rock is available, crush wall is an 
effective, natural-appearing solution. 

In some cases the functional need to protect a trail 
and the surrounding resources may outweigh adverse 
impacts to the trail's historic character. For example, 
the 1992 wall on the Great Head Trail (#2) is out of 
character but was the most viable solution to retain a 
trail route over a 7-foot-deep gulch. The addition of 
the wall not only preserved the route of the trail, it also 
discourages hikers from leaving the trail and follow- 
ing the gulch to the beach. In similar situations, careful 
consideration should be given to the impacts of all 
options on trail character and resource protection. 

2. Structural Integrity 

Issue: In some places, the type of wall originally built 
has failed, particularly rubble and piled walls. Replac- 
ing failed rubble and piled walls with laid walls would 
increase their stability but would be an alteration of a 
trail's character. Additionally, some signature charac- 
teristics of laid walls are structurally weak. The vertical 
walls on the Beachcroft Path (#13) would be stronger if 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

they had a batter. Shims used on the Emery Path (#15) 
walls and on CCC walls tend to wiggle out but are a 
part of the visual character. The small stones used to 
build entire sections of wall on CCC laid walls are eas- 
ily pushed out by frost, or can fall out after only minute 
shifts in a talus slope. 

Treatment Guidelines: The historically appropri- 
ate type of wall will be used when feasible, with slight 
modifications as necessary to improve strength and 
durability. In general, drainage can be added to the 
treadway to take water and ice pressure from the wall. 
Larger stones can be used, and crucial stones can be 
set so that they are sturdy. On sloping ledge, pins can 
be used to hold key stones in the wall's base, but these 
should be hidden from view (see Chapter 8 on Iron- 
work). Where possible, ledge should be modified to 
create a level or insloping bench, in which case pins 
would not be necessary. New and repaired rubble 
wall should be constructed using an adequate amount 
of headers, with long stones laid with their length 
into the wall, and with increased batter. Such walls 
should resemble the historical wall but be substantially 
stronger. Shims and stones that do not penetrate into 
the face of the wall at least 8 inches should not be used. 
However, the historic appearance of a wall with shims 
and small stones can be achieved by setting long, nar- 
row stones with their lengths into the wall. Also, after 
a wall has been laid, small stones can be wedged into 
the openings of the wall face. These stones will provide 
the same visual appearance as shims, but not act as 
structural features in the wall. 

3. Roots 

Issue: In some areas, the amount of large roots that 
would have to be cut in order to establish a footing for 
a retaining wall would cause the death of large trees 
near the trail. This is especially the case in many lake- 
side and streamside areas, where a narrow corridor 
of trees lives between the trail and the water, exactly 
where a retaining wall needs to be placed. 

Treatment Guidelines: Since log cribbing and crush 
wall can both be constructed in a way that leaves many 
large roots intact, these two options should be con- 

sidered first. Due to the batter and material required, 
crush wall is usually only a tenable solution for reten- 
tion needs of 3 vertical feet or less, where there is 3 
or more feet beyond the edge of the trail in which to 
put a stable footing. Because it is tied in horizontally, 
log cribbing can be built when there is no room for a 
footing, or when no stable soil or rock can be found. 
Log cribbing can also be built in a vertical batter and 
as high as is needed. In some cases, a laid wall can be 
constructed with its foundation stones built between 
large roots, but such a structure is usually weaker, and 
far more vulnerable to disintegration as the roots grow 
or rot away. 


1. Laid Walls (Figs. 6-45 & 6-46) 

Excavation: The entire length and width of the retain- 
ing wall should be excavated at least 6 inches deep, 
until solid ground, free of organic material, is reached. 
The width of the base, and therefore the excavation 
channel, of a retaining wall should be at least one-third 
the height of the completed wall. The ground at the 
bottom of the excavated area should be level or sloping 
slightly toward the interior of the wall, never sloping 
out. When building a wall in water, such as for a bridge 
abutment, the excavation and the foundation should 
extend to ledge. If this is not possible, then excavation 
should go as deep as is practical. 

Foundation: The foundation is the first tier of the 
wall, which is partially or fully beneath the ground. It 
should project 4 inches or more beyond the face of the 
main wall. At least 50 percent of each front foundation 
stone should be directly beneath the main wall; these 
stones should be at least 12 inches long in the direction 
perpendicular to the wall. Foundation stones should 
provide a flat, or slightly in-sloping, top surface on 
which to lay the main wall. In appropriate areas where 
foundations are laid on out-sloping ledge, iron pins 
may be used to secure the foundation (see Chapter 8). 
However, if ledge can be modified to form a level or in- 
sloping bench for foundation stones, that is the prefer- 
able, more permanent solution. Another technique for 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; C. retaining Walls 

ACAD' NP-Baldyga/Barier 

Fig. 6-45 Detail of a laid retaining wall 

Large stones used in top course 

Most stones set header style, 
especially in top course 

Long rock set header style, 
no shims used in face of wall 

Stones break joints 
below and contact 
all abutting rocks 

Header extends 
through core 

Core is filled 80% 
with largest rocks 
that fit 

Bottom course is set 
below grade; building 
stone or packed stone 
base extends at least 
8" below grade 

laying stones on outsloping ledge is to lay 
a foundation course of all tapering head- 
ers and key them behind any lip available 
in the surface of the ledge. 

Wall Face: Stones should be chosen 
and laid so that an appropriate face is 
showing. If the desired face of a finished 
wall is to be smooth, then flat, even faces 
should show on each stone, and be flush 
at the fronts. If the face is to be rough, 
then rounded, sloping, or jagged faces 
can be used, and must be used at least 
part of the time. When a wall is being 
laid in water, the face should curve, or 
"wing back," into the embankment to 
protect it from water getting behind. 

Long core rocks break 
joints behind wall face 

Best-shaped rocks to pack core 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barier 

Fig. 6-46 Detail of a laid retaining wall in plan view. 

Batter: The batter, or relationship of rise to run in 
the face of a retaining wall, should be determined in 
part according to the precedents of relevant historical 
work, as outlined, and in the specific requirements of 
individual trails. However, some general rules should 
be adhered to whenever possible. 

A 3:1 batter (rise:run) should be used for walls 
that retain active slopes, or soils which carry large 
amounts of running or freezing-and-thawing 
water. A 4:1 batter should be used for walls that 
retain soils which carry a moderate amount of 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

• A 6:1 batter may be used for walls that retain inac- 
tive, well-drained soils with no unusual weight 
stresses, such as heavy equipment, placed on them. 

Laying the Stone: Lay stones with the length back 
into the wall (header style) as often as possible. Larger 
stones occasionally may be laid with their lengths run- 
ning with the face of the wall (stretcher style), but only 
if they provide at least 8 to 10 inches of width in the 
face of the wall. 

The tops of wall stones should provide level or gener- 
ally backsloping surfaces on which to lay the next 

Lay stones so that they transfer their weight into the 
wall below and the material behind, rather than away 
from the wall, which can cause stones to tumble out of 
the wall or walls to lean away from their loads instead 
of back into them. 

same with additional contact points. Contact should 
be at or toward the face of the wall for stability and to 
better retain core material. This technique is known as 
making a stone "strong to the face." A stone should not 
tip forward when weight is put on it at the face. 

Large stones should be used in the top course of 
the wall; all but the very largest (at least 3 cubic feet) 
should be set header style. The specific pressures on 
the wall must be considered. The weight of larger 
stones serves to pin down the wall below them. Top 
stones are more vulnerable because they are not 
pinned down, and larger, header-style stones will be 
dislodged less easily by back-pressure or hikers. In 
Acadia, use of large stones in the top course is the 
prevailing aesthetic; however, in cases where the look 
of walls is otherwise, care should be taken to imitate 
relevant work. If smaller stones are to be represented 
in the face of a wall, long stones can be set as deep 

Every seam created by stones laid side by side should 
be broken or spanned by a single stone which cov- 
ers the seam and has contact with each of the stones 
beneath it. Unbroken joints are called "running joints" 
or "stack bonds" and are usually the first areas to fail in 
a retaining wall. 

Headers are stones laid with their lengths perpendicu- 
lar to the direction of the wall; tie rocks are headers 
which span the entire width of the wall, including the 
core, and ideally penetrate the material behind the 
wall. They serve to tie the wall together, front to back. 
The number of headers and tie rocks needed in a given 
wall will vary according to the size of other stones in 
the wall, the availability of headers, the purpose of the 
wall, and so on, but two good rules of thumb are: (1) 
Have at least one tie rock in any 3-square-foot area 
on the face of the wall; and (2) Lay a header over any 
stones set "stretcher" style, with their lengths parallel 
to the wall's face. 

Wall stones should contact all stones below and beside 
them at one point. More contact points are unneces- 
sary, as the amount of friction transferred will be the 

The Core: The core is the area between the face of 
the wall and the material being retained by the wall. 
Though unseen, it is an essential part of the wall, 
providing internal drainage, mass, and structural 
cohesiveness to the wall. Poorly built core, with small 
stones just thrown in behind the wall, or lack of a core, 
are perhaps the most common causes of retaining wall 

The core should be built using the largest stones first 
and then increasingly smaller stones until at least 80 
percent of the core is packed with stone. Larger core 
stones should be laid so they span joints between 
stones in front of them in the face of the wall and 
stones below them. The end result is two walls, one 
built of the face stones and the other of core stones, 
that are woven together. 

The core should be tightly built behind face stones 
before additional face stones are laid on for the next 
tier. Usually, a row of face stones is set, and then the 
core is tightly packed behind the row. 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; C. Retaining Walls 

2. Rubble Walls (Fig. 6-47) 

In the construction of rubble walls, the same specifica- 
tions as for "Laid Walls" apply, with the exception of 
wall face and batter. 

Face: The face of a rubble wall should appear as 
though the stones were randomly placed. Individual 
courses should not be discernible. Stones should show 
jagged noses and rounded fronts, and should protrude 
or be inset in a random pattern. The face of a rubble 
wall will often have gaps. The size of these gaps will be 
in direct correlation to the size of the stones in the face 
and in the core. They should not be so large as to allow 
face stones to shift or core stones to escape. 

Batter: For structural reasons, the batter of a rubble 
wall should be at least 2:1, and ideally 1 1/2 :1 or shal- 
lower. However, the batter need not be consistent 
across a section of rubble wall. It should vary with 
the landscape, the stone, or in whatever pattern is 
convenient to the builder. Increased batter and the use 
of more rounded stones allows for "cradling" — 
a technique in which stones are trapped behind and 
on top of the stones below and in front of them, or 
"locked in." 

3. Piled Walls 

An assortment of uncut, local stone of different sizes 
should be used. Stones are then piled one by one so 
that each stone is cradled by those below it. When 
possible, the length of the stone should be set into the 
wall. The pile should have a batter of 1:1 on the outside 
and on the inside, so that before backfilling the wall 
shape is pyramidal. Piled walls should not be built over 
3 feet high. 

4. Crush Walls (Figs. 6-48 & 6-49) 

Crush walls are contemporary structures used to treat 
areas with many exposed roots, or where it is desirable 
to obscure the use of retaining wall (Fig 6-50). A crush 
wall is often easier to build than a retaining wall, espe- 
cially at the top course, where a retaining wall requires 
uniform stones to satisfy height, width, and contact. 
However, as opposed to simply angled crush, crush 
walls use a retaining wall base to anchor the structure 
and gain the initial elevation vertically, reducing the 
need for additional width and material. The drawbacks 
of crush walls include the difficulty of constructing 
them over 3 feet tall, or where there is a need for a ver- 
tical structure, and the large amount of crushable rock 
required to build them. 

May often be gaps 
between rocks 

Core packed 
as with laid wall 

Rocks often slope 
back and are "cradled' 
or "locked in" 

This is long header 
Fig. 6-47 Detail of a rubble retaining wall. 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 


Acadia trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 6-48 Heavily rooted area on west side of the Jordan Pond 
Path (#39) before construction of crush wall. 

Fig. 6-49 A 2002 crush wall construction on the same section of 
the Jordan Pond Path (#39) pictured in Fig. 6-48 after vegetation 
of berm but before placement of gravel. Note roots going into 


Soil loss 





M* *''"' > *Vw 

Jjs - , 





N \ 


Exposed roots 

1 ^m *»« **' A^ 


Fig. 6-50 Detail of heavily rooted area before application of crush wall construction technique. 



Chapter 6: retaining structures; C. Retaining Walls 

Excavation: The trail corridor is excavated plus 
enough width on the downhill side for angled crush on 
top of the foundation stones. A 1:1 batter is the steepest 
recommended for crush material; therefore, every unit 
of height needed above the height of the foundation 
stones requires an equal distance from the trail edge. 
For instance, if 2 feet of height is required, and rocks 
are to be set that will stand 1 foot tall after being set in 
the ground, the edge will be excavated at least 1 foot 
for the crush, plus whatever is needed to properly set 
the stone header-style (a few inches at least). 

Large roots need not be removed, but smaller roots 
may need to be cut to allow placement of larger stones. 
Insloping holes are excavated between the large roots 
to hold the foundation stones. 

Setting the Foundation: (Fig. 6-51) Foundation stones 
are set header-style and in-sloping, at least several 
inches in the ground. They are set in the holes between 
large roots and they need not contact each other, 
though flared stones that contact each other over the 
roots between them are ideal. Non-contacting founda- 
tion stones should be locked in with stones set in from 

above and from the inside of the wall jammed between 
them. Because foundation stones are not as locked in 
as wall stones, they need be large (2 cubic feet is a good 
target) and set well, always header-style, with any gaps 
around them crushed in. 

Laying the Crush: The crush is laid into the tread and 
onto the foundation stones as in a wall-less causeway, 
with higher crush rocks pounded into lower crush to 
fill all gaps and ensure that stones are locked together. 
The retaining edge of the crush base should be 1:1 or 
shallower. The crush fill is worked around the roots. 
Crush fill is brought up to 1 inch below line at the 
retaining edge, and cupped to 3 inches below the line 
in the tread way. Note that the crush portion of the 
wall is not a veneer wall, which will quickly disinte- 
grate, but the outer edge of a crush-fill subgrade. 

Vegetating the Sides (Fig. 6-52): Topsoil, mud, or 
organic material from the forest floor is worked into 
the retaining edge, and local vegetation (grasses and 
forest sods are best) is planted up to the mason's line. 
No organics are used inside the treadway, which is 
gravel-surfaced with the proper crown or outslope. 

Former scar filled 
with crushed rock 

1:1 slope 

Preserved roots 

Fig. 6-51 Side view of crush wall construction. 




1. Maintain associated drainage structures and keep 
treadway above the wall draining properly. 

2. Check face of wall for voids and fill them. Fill 
voids in the interior of the wall by stuffing small 
material through holes in the face. 

3. Cut trees growing out of, directly in front of, or 
behind the wall. Generally, cut all trees three inches 
or less in diameter, cut all trees 4 to 6 inches in 
diameter if they are a threat to the wall, and avoid 
cutting trees greater than 6 inches in diameter, 

unless they are an extreme threat to a historic wall's 
integrity and their removal will not cause further 
damage to the wall. 

4. Replace or reset missing or displaced coping 

5. Check for signs of wall failure: the wall leaning out 
at the top, or kicking out at the bottom, bulges, 
loose or missing stones, rusted or missing pins at 
the base of the wall. Repair and/or replace failed 
portions of a wall as necessary. These problems 
will worsen with time. 

Heavily rooted 
area makes 
crush wall a 

(sod, soil, etc 
covers crush 

stones set 
between large 
roots are long 

ACAD NP-Baldyga 

Saved roots 

Fig. 6-52 Detail of finished crush wal 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; D. Log Cribs 




Log cribs are retaining structures consisting of inter- 
locked logs. They may be treadway cribs, which are 
located in the trail's treadway itself, act as checks to 
retain the tread, and sometimes serve as sidewalls. 
They may also be wall cribs, which serve as retaining 
walls above or below the treadway (Figs. 6-53 & 6-54). 

Log cribs are not historical features for Acadia's trail 
system. However, they may be used on a limited basis 
in certain circumstances. Log cribs should be consid- 
ered as a treatment option if all of the following apply: 

1. There was never historical stonework anywhere 
on the trail that would be an appropriate solution 
for the problem; this is most often a consideration 
in areas with large tree roots. 

2. The area is not in close proximity to historical 
stonework on another trail. 

3. The problem site is in a wooded area. 

4. There is not enough usable stone in the immediate 
vicinity to construct an appropriate stone feature. 

There is no history of the use of log cribs in the system, 
although pinned logs were used by the VIA/VIS and 
the CCC recommended the use of log water bars. 
However, throughout the history of the system, many 
unconstructed woodland paths have developed ero- 
sion problems that were never anticipated in original 
construction. For most of these trails there is virtually 
no "appropriate" solution, as highly crafted stone- 
work is often not compatible with the unconstructed 
character of the trail and/or there is usually not enough 
available stone nearby. 

Log cribs were introduced to Acadia by trails fore- 
man Gary Stellpflug in the early 1970s. Both treadway 
and wall log cribs were used to solve problems of trail 
gullying and bank erosion. Because of their ease of 
construction and the speed with which they could be 
built, log features were added to several trails. Many 
of these structures were built on inappropriate trails, 


g|T , /^gg^gt 

Fig. 6-53 A wall crib on the Beech Cliff Ladder Trail (#106). 

Fig. 6-54 Treadway cribs on the Bear Brook Trail (#10). 




Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

There is no evidence or documentation of the use of 
logwork prior to the VIS/VIA period. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Logwork was used for some limited features like pinned 
logs to retain tread, but log cribs were not used. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Logwork was used for some limited features like log water 
bars, but log cribs were not used. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

There is no evidence of the use of logwork. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Widespread use of log cribs occurred in the early to mid- 
1970s, but cribs were used more sparingly in later years. 
Their use was discontinued from 1995 to 2001. 

Fig. 6-55 Wall crib on steepest west-side section of the Jordan 
Pond Path (#39) built in conjunction with stone retaining wall. 

often with historic stonework within sight of the log 
cribwork. For example, extensive log treadway and 
wall cribs were constructed on the Beech Cliff Ladder 
Trail (#106) in 1982. This trail was historically defined 
by stone steps and ironwork, but at the time Stellpflug 
was in charge of a small, unskilled crew, and the easily 
installed log cribs quickly stabilized and made walk- 
able a large section of badly eroded hillside. The cribs 
are still in place today and are in good condition. Other 
inappropriate, though useful, cribs were constructed 
on the Ocean Path (#3) and the Bear Brook Trail (#10). 
More appropriately cribbed areas, because of their 
wooded locations and lack of constructed features, 
include the North Bubble Trail (#41), the South Bubble 
Trail (#43), and the Bubbles-Pemetic Trail (#36). 

The use of log cribs was discontinued in the late 1990s, 
on the largely held belief that because of the tradition 
of stonework at Acadia, logwork was inappropriate 
for the trail system. However, the use of logwork in 
certain circumstances is now considered an accept- 
able alternative for trail problems that cannot be 
easily addressed through the use of other features. For 
example, a wall crib built in 2002 was the most feasible 
treatment for one of the steepest sections on the west 
side of the Jordan Pond Path (#39) (Fig. 6-55). Care 
was taken to blend the crib into a continuing section of 
stone retaining wall. 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: While stonework is the preferred method 
of dealing with most trail problems, in many areas 
stonework is not possible, would be destructive to 
vegetation (such as tree roots), or would not be an 
historically appropriate treatment for unconstructed 
trails. However, since log cribs are not historical and 
are characteristically very different from other features 
on the trail system, widespread use of log cribs will 
alter the character and integrity of the trail system. 

Treatment Guidelines: Log cribs should be used on a 
limited basis and only if the four criteria listed above 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; D. Log Cribs 

(see "Definitions") are met. In these cases, logwork 
may be preferable to stonework and is an acceptable 

To mitigate the effect of the characteristically different 
appearance of log work, it should be obscured as much 
as possible after construction. Sides of tread cribs 
should be buried and vegetated. Crib walls should be 
covered in soil and obscured by vegetation that will 
cover the logs permanently as it grows. Once slopes are 
stabilized and revegetated, or treadway becomes per- 
manently rehabilitated, logwork should be allowed to 
rot, returning the area to its natural state and a trail to 
its original unconstructed character. At this point, the 
slope is naturally supported by the surrounding veg- 
etation and constructed features should not be needed. 

All joints should be notched, using either flat or saddle 
notches (see Chapter 5 and Fig. 5-42), and spiked. 

1. Tread Cribs (Figs. 6-56 & 6-57) 

Tread cribs consist of side-pieces, laid along the edge 
of the treadway, and cross-pieces, or checks, laid 
across the treadway. 

The top of the crib should be at or just above the level 
of the ground at either side of the trail at the edge of 
the gully. If the gully is deeper than the width of the 
crib logs, then it should be filled with stone rubble to 
the appropriate height. Side pieces are set at the edges 
of the desired treadway width. If the gully is wider than 
the desired treadway, the outsides of the crib should 
be filled with stone and soil and revegetated. 


Northern white cedar logs are used. Logs should be 
structurally sound but need not be completely free of 
rot. Size can vary greatly; diameters less than 4 inches 
should not be used, as they will deteriorate too early. 

Cross-pieces may be set on top, underneath or flush 
with side-pieces. They are notched "Lincoln Log" 
style to fit with side pieces. A tread crib will have a 
cross-piece wherever it steps up to the next set of side- 
pieces, but it may also have side-pieces notched flush 
between individual cribs. 

Structure may be 
elevated above 
ground for 

Gravel may be 
flush with sides 

Cribs are filled with 
rock subgrade and 
surfaced with gravel 

Side-pieces and 
are notched 

First cross- 
piece set 
weli into 

Fig. 6-56 Detail of treadway crib. 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 


Acadia trails Treatment Plan 

Checks notched 
in between tiers 

Finished grade 


Side-pieces notched 
into cross-piece at 
next tier (saddle notches 
may also be used) 

Side-pieces slope 

Fig. 6-57 Side view of detail of treadway crib. 

The rise between cross-pieces should not exceed 1 
foot. Cross-pieces should be backed with substantial 
stones that extend into the ground deeper than the 
height of the next cross-piece below them, so that if 
the tread erodes to the level of the step below, under- 
mining will not occur. 

The top surface of cross-pieces should be flattened 
with a chainsaw or ax to provide a stepping surface. 

2. Wall Cribs (Fig. 6-58). 

Wall cribs consist of wall or "rail" pieces, which make 
up the face of the wall, and "tie" pieces, which are 
perpendicular to the wall face and extend back into 
the slope, anchoring the structure. Rail pieces are set 
parallel to the trail and ties are notched into them, at 
least two ties per rail, and set back into the bank. Ties 
should be at least 36 inches long and extend into the 
bank at least 30 inches. 

As with retaining wall, the bottom tier of the crib 
should be buried at least 8 inches below the natural 
level of the ground. 

Ideally, the entire area is excavated and the crib is filled 
as it is built. Cribs should be backfilled with a mixture 
of stones, for strength and drainage, and lower tiers 
topped with soil for vegetation. Substantial live roots 
should not be cut; logs can be notched if need be to go 
around them. If preservation of roots, stable stones, 
or other plant life prevents full excavation, ties must 
be driven into the bank rather than laid. In such cases, 
ties can be sharpened and driven into the bank with a 
sledgehammer. If crib wall is long enough to require 
multiple rails set end-to-end, joints between rails 
should be staggered, as in a retaining wall. 


Generally, there will be no routine maintenance 
needed, as the intent is to let the log structures decay 
naturally. However, tread cribs should be checked 
periodically to ensure that no logs have dislodged 
which may cause a hiker safety hazard. Such logs 
should be repaired or replaced as needed. 

Unless the terrain dictates a more vertical structure, 
crib walls should have sufficient batter to allow the 
rails to be "stepped" and soil and vegetation planted 
between each of them, or at least every two or three 
rails. An ideal width for the horizontal gap is 1 foot. 
Trees and shrubs should be planted if possible, as they 
will obscure the wall and their root structures will 
provide the bank with integrity when the log wall has 


33 Bar Harbor VIA 19 09 Annual Report. 

34 Bar Harbor Record, November 23, 1910,3. 

35 Frank Kittredge, Standards for Trail Construction (United States 
Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1934). 


Chapter 6: retaining structures; D. Log Cribs 


Large roots 
are not cut 

r^ — >H 

Ties should extend 

a minimum of 2' into bank after 

excavation (if any), or be deadmanned 

Fig. 6-58 Detail of a wall crib. 




Fig. 7-1 This staircase at the trailhead of Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16), circa 1916, is one example of the highly crafted stone step work 
that exists on Acadia's trails. 




Acadia trails Treatment Plan 


At Acadia, steps and staircases are primary 
character-defining features of the trail system. 
They contribute to trail diversity by allowing 
the trails to follow a variety of routes, from talus slopes 
to steep hillsides and ledges. Walking upon steps that 
are highly crafted and yet harmonize with the sur- 
rounding natural landscape is fundamental to the 
experience of hiking in Acadia. 

Beginning in the 1890s, steps were built on steep slopes 
and ledges for ease of walking and guidance. From the 
1910s through the 1930s, long sections of steps were 
added first by the VIA/VIS path committees and later 
by the CCC. Two types of stone steps are found on 
historic trails, slab-laid and set-behind, with the for- 
mer most common. Although each step and staircase is 
individually built in response to topography and local 
stone, this section categorizes them by period of con- 
struction and characteristics including layout, stone 
type, average stone size, run, rise, width, and degree of 
uniformity. Additional categories include the presence 
of coping stones, support walls, iron pins, shims, and 
associated drainage. 

An analysis of the history of step construction and the 
steps extant in the 1990s suggests four major classifi- 
cations: Bates, Dorr, Brunnow, and CCC-style steps. 
As one of the most important historical features on 
the trail, care must be taken in rehabilitation work to 
understand the character and construction methods 
appropriate for each individual trail. 

Most steps and staircases at Acadia were historically 
constructed of stone, and in keeping with this tradi- 
tion, stone steps are preferred for continued use in the 
park (Fig. 7-1). Log steps, including log checks and log 
cribbing, may be used as short-term solutions, but are 
not recommended for long-term use. They deteriorate 
in Acadia's extreme climate, and they do not comple- 
ment the historical building style of Acadia. 

Note: Stone steps may be installed in conjunction with 
other trail features. For example, small runs of steps 

may be incorporated into stone pavement, drainage/ 
culverts, coping and retaining walls, stream crossings, 
and ironwork. For information on these features, see 
Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8. 


A step is a constructed feature that is a vertical rise in 
grade onto a horizontal surface. A staircase is com- 
posed of a series of connected steps (stairs). Methods 
of step construction at Acadia include set-behind, slab- 
laid, or riprap. 

Set-behind and slab-laid refer to steps in which each 
step is generally an individual stone, although in some 
cases two or more stones side-by-side may form 
a single step. In set-behind steps, each step is set 
directly behind the step immediately below it, so that 
the bottom of the upper step sits well below the top of 
the next lower step in the staircase. The stone below 
locks the stone above in place. In this way, the stone 
is "keyed" or wedged into place and can no longer 
slip unless the lower stone is moved. Slab-laid steps 
are set on top of each other, so that the bottom of the 
upper step sits on top of the back of the step immedi- 
ately below it (Figs. 7-2 & 7-3). 

Riprap steps are a series of tiers built of randomly 
laid, abutting stones. Each tier or step consists of many 
stones laid so their tops form a single smooth stepping 
surface (Fig. 7-4). While used in the western United 
States and in the New Hampshire White Mountains, 
this technique is not an historically appropriate style of 
step building at Acadia. However, use may be appro- 
priate where a high-use trail has become excessively 
wide, or where a steep rocky slope needs to be stabi- 

Shims are small, flat stones placed underneath larger 
stones (steps, in this case) to eliminate wobble, to fill 
gaps, or to raise the overall height of a larger stone. 
In general, stones used for these purposes are called 


Chapter 7: Steps 

shims if they are exposed (see Fig. 7-4). If they are used 
in the interior of a structure, where they are locked in 
place, they are called blocking or packing (Fig. 7-4). 

Patio refers to a wide section of stone pavement, often 
found between sections of steps (see Figs. 7-13, 7-43). 



There is no evidence or documentation of step use 
prior to the VIA/VIS period. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Beginning in the 1890s, the use of stone steps on the 
island's trails is an integral part of the history of the 
system as a whole. In fact, the trails on Mount Desert 
may be the country's first recreational trail system to 
incorporate the extensive use of stone staircases. 

Steps locked in 

behind each other 

at least 3" j 1 

i /"T 

Bottom step 

\. r^—^^k A 

is locked in 

_h \T^ 

*tfl *j '■: 

\ ipsz 


jl ) \ Rock core or 



stable soil 

ACAD NP-Batdyga/Barter 

Fig. 7-2 Set-behind steps. 

Bottom step 
set into ground 


Fig. 7-3 Slab-laid steps. 

See specifications for orientation 
and size of front steps 

Front stones of each step 
locked behind previous step 

Small gaps between 
stones packed 
and fitted with 
crushed rock 

Stones are 
flush and level 

Ideal block foundation — 
crush if necessary 
(NEVER just dirt) 

Back stones and packing 

stones may be shallower (6" mm) 

but still well locked in 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 

Fig. 7-4 Rip-rap steps. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 7-5 These steps on the Upper Ladder Trail (#334) contain 
exposed shims. Their use may have contributed to the 
deterioration of these Bates-style steps since shims are generally 
not locked in place and are often dislodged. 

Fig. 7-6 Deteriorated steps on the Giant Slide Trail (#63). 

•■■■ - 

Fig. 7-8 Bates-style steps on the Goat Trail (#444). 

Fig. 7-7 Bates-style steps on the Potholes to Eagles Crag Trai 

Fig. 7-9 Dorr-style stone staircase on the Emery Path (#15). 


Chapter 7: Steps 

The first stone steps were most likely built in the 1890s 
either by or under the direction of Waldron Bates. 
Defined by economy and simplicity, these early steps 
were flat, uncut, slab-laid stones, constructed in short 
flights. The size of stones used was generally smaller 
than in later work. In some locations, especially over 
sections of ledgerock, the steps functioned more as 
guidance features (see Chapter 9) than as a way of 
providing a durable tread over changing topography. 
Examples of these early VIA/VIS "Bates-style" steps 
(Fig. 7-45) can be found on the Upper Ladder Trail 
(#334), Potholes to Eagles Crag Trail (#343), Cadillac 
Cliffs to Thunder Hole (#345), Goat Trail (#444), and 
Giant Slide Trail (#63) (Figs. 7-6 to 7-8). 

While the majority of step-building took place in the 
Bar Harbor region throughout the VIA/VIS period, 
significant work also occurred in the Seal Harbor, 
Northeast Harbor and Southwest Harbor districts. 
Most of this step work, with a few important excep- 
tions, can be classified as Bates-style, especially since 
Bates assisted crews in Seal Harbor and Northeast 
Harbor districts for a number of years. For instance, 
steps on the Pond Trail (#20), the Jordan South End 
Path (#409), and the Penobscot Mountain Trail (#47) 
are in the rougher Bates style. One exception is a set of 
staircases on the Northeast Harbor side of the Asticou 
Trail (#49) that uses a unique style of wide, multi-stone 
stairs with support wall and coping. Southwest Harbor 
steps are a variation of rough-laid steps that use no 
coping and are set into the earth. The few staircases 
in this region appear on otherwise unconstructed, 
woodland trails. 

Interestingly, while Bar Harbor steps evolved into 
larger, more highly crafted features as the era pro- 
ceeded, steps built in the other districts apparently 
did not. Though constructed in the 1910s, steps on the 
Maple Spring Trail (#58) and the Hadlock Brook Trails 
(#501, #502, #57) more closely resemble Bar Harbor 
work from the 1890s than that of the 1910s and 1920s. 
The one exception is the Van Santvoord Trail (#450), 
which is discussed below. 

After the death of Waldron Bates in 1909, and through- 
out the extended tenure of Andrew Liscomb as 
Superintendent of Paths for the Bar Harbor VIA until 
1931, stone steps continued to be a frequently con- 
structed feature on the island's slope-traversing trails. 
As VIA/VIS trail-building skill increased, steps began 
to be integral to trail building and construction meth- 
ods were modified, creating steps that became more 
refined and substantial trail features. 

The memorial and endowed trails built under the 
direction of George Dorr in the 1910s represent some 
of the most ingenious stair building in the park. Many 
of these trails were engineered to provide walkers 
with a continuous stone tread, using large cut blocks 
set with even runs and risers (see Fig. 7-46). Added 
components of the "Dorr-style" stairs were coping 
stones, large boulders used as coping retaining walls, 
and iron pins. Dorr staircases exhibit straight runs and 
pleasing curves. They make use of both slab-laid and 
set-behind steps. Dorr was also the first to use drainage 
in conjunction with staircases, making steps the cap- 
stones of capstone culverts (used on the Emery Path, 
#15) and using subgrade drainage beneath his steps and 
side drains beside them. An interesting feature of some 
of Dorr's slab-laid steps is that they "belly" down, or 
rounded side down, behind the step on which they sit, 
locking in the stone and providing extra protection 
against slipping forward. Primary examples of steps in 
the Dorr style are extant on the Emery Path (#15), Kurt 
Diederich's Climb (#16), and the Homans Path (#349) 
(Figs. 7-9 to 7-15). 

Later memorial paths, such as the Beachcroft Path 
(#13), Schiff Path (#15), and Andrew Murray Young 
Path (#25), had a tendency to use stairs that were 
smaller in overall scale and height of risers than the 
earlier paths, but often set in long runs of steps. Very 
few of the larger stairs on these later paths were as big 
as the stairs commonly used on their predecessors. 
The reason for this is unknown. Oddly, coping stones 
used on the Beachcroft Path (#13) are as large as any 
steps or paving stones on the early memorial paths, but 
the steps are smaller (Figs. 7-16 & 7-17). 


Acadia trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 7-10 Coping is used with stairs on the Emery Path (#15), circa 
1920. There is also an obscure culvert under this staircase. 

Fig. 7-12 A curving section of steps on Kurt Diederich's Climb 

Fig. 7-11 Dorr-style stone staircase on Schiff Path (#15), circa 

Fig. 7-13 Stone steps on the Homans Path (#349) are interspersed 
with sections of stone "patio." 


Chapter 7: Steps 

Fig. 7-14 Dorr-style stone staircase on ledge rock on the upper section of the Homans Path (#349). 

Fig. 7-15 Detail of stone steps on the Homans Path (#349). 

Fig. 7-17 A narrow stone staircase between sections of stone 
pavement on the Beachcroft Path (#13). 

Fig. 7-16 This curving 
staircase on the 
Beachcroft Path (#13) is 
typical of the smaller- 
sized steps generally 
found on this trail. 


Acadia trails Treatment Plan 

The sporadic, distinctively curved staircases of the Van 
Santvoord Trail (#450) represent another variation. 
Constructed between 1915 and 1917 under the direc- 
tion of Joseph Allen, Seal Harbor VIS path committee 
chairman, the trail contains large stone steps on steep 
climbs, between long stretches of trail with no other 
built features. Some short staircases were constructed 
on open ledgerock, reminiscent of some of the earliest 
Bates-style step work (Figs. 7-18 & 7-19). 

Fig. 7-18 This small curving stone staircase on the Van Santvoord 
Trail (#450) is typical of many of the steps on this trail. 

During the 1910s and 1920s, significant step work 
was being performed in every major area of the park. 
On the island's west side, the Southwest Harbor VIA 
added steps to the Bernard Mountain South Face Trail 
(#111) using typical VIA/VIS construction techniques 
including square, uncut stones, slab-laid construc- 
tion with even runs and risers, and no coping. On the 
east side, Rudolph Brunnow's crew built numerous 
staircases on the Orange and Black Path (#348), the 
Precipice Trail (#11), and the Beehive Trail (#7) (Fig. 
7-21). These staircases exhibit a unique style in which 
the steps are the top course of a retaining wall which is 
constructed completely under them of relatively small, 
carefully laid stones. The stairs do not use coping, and 
the blocking is exposed. The "Hanging Steps" on the 
Orange and Black Path (#348) are the most dramatic 
example of this Brunnow style (Fig. 7-22). 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

In the early years of park management from 1916 to 
1932, the VIA/VIS continued to construct and main- 
tain trails on land that would eventually become part 
of the national park. The park, under the direction of 

Fig. 7-19 The stone steps on the Van Santvoord Trail (#450) were 
often located on ledgerock where there is no apparent need for 
a set of steps. These steps functioned more as a route guide than 
an aid to traversing the slope. 

Fig. 7-20 Historic view of classic SHVIA slab-laid steps on the 
Moss Trail, part of the Bernard Mountain South Face Trail (#111). 
Steps are square, uncut stones with even runs and risers, no 
coping, and shimmed under the first step. The staircase is now 
obliterated, perhaps due to a weak foundation. 



Superintendent Dorr, focused on construction of visi- 
tor facilities, including associated trails. For example, 
when the Cadillac Summit Road was completed in 
1932, the park constructed an associated interpretive 
loop trail on the summit (#33). Design drawings were 
prepared by the NPS Branch of Plans and Design in 
1932 and implemented in 1933. This was probably the 
first asphalt-paved trail on the island (Fig. 7-24). (In 
the 1970s, the trail was resurfaced with concrete mixed 
with local pink granite in an effort to harmonize with 
the native summit setting.) Upon the arrival of the 
CCC, Dorr also laid out plans for expansion of the trail 
system, including several stepped trails on the less- 
developed western side of the island. 

The CCC vigorously continued the art and craft of 
step construction on a scale similar to the VIA/VIS 
endowed paths, and often in a remarkably similar char- 
acter. However, the CCC was even more methodical 
in their attention to detail, employing large numbers of 
engineers, foremen, and workmen at trail construction 
in the park. CCC steps had a consistent appearance, 
relying on cut or naturally occurring stone that was 

uniform in size and shape (Figs. 7-25 and 7-46). The 
treads and "risers" were consistent throughout a run 
of steps, creating stairs that were comfortable for the 
hiker. Also, CCC steps were often wider than VIA/VIS 
steps, some over 4 feet wide, to handle more use. And 
to make the stairs blend in with the natural surround- 
ings, CCC crews would plant mosses, ferns, and other 
vegetation in the crevices of staircase after they were 
finished with construction. 

This level of detail and attention to craftsmanship in 
the construction of CCC steps, as well as other con- 
tributing features like drainage and retention, remains 
especially evident on the Perpendicular Trail (#119). 
This trail was one of the few complete trails added to 
the park by the CCC, and much of the route consists of 
continuous staircases. On this trail, sections of a talus 
field were reconstructed and engineered in order to 
accommodate a series of even switchbacks of uniform 
steps (Figs. 7-26 & 7-27). While perhaps not as highly 
engineered, or as well constructed as the Perpendicu- 
lar Trail (#119), the Valley Cove (#626) portion of 
the Flying Mountain Trail (#105) is the other major 

Fig. 7-21 A partially reconstructed stone staircase on the Beehive 
Trail (#7). The rehab is misfitting, as the odd-shaped stones of 
random sizes on the lower part of the staircase do not resemble 
the historic, evenly laid rectangular stones on the upper part of 
the staircase. 

Fig. 7-22 Brunnow's "Hanging Steps" on the Orange and Black 
Path (#348). Steps are pinned in the front and middle. Note the 
exposed retaining wall under the upper steps. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 7-23 Brunnow-style stone steps on the Champlain East Face 
Trail (#12). 

Fig. 7-25 These CCC steps on the Acadia Mountain Trail (#101) 
contain consistent sizes of stones. The AMC scree installed later 
along the trail edges has altered the historic character. 

Fig. 7-24 Stone steps and asphalt pavement on the Cadillac 
Summit Loop Trail (#33). 

Fig. 7-26 Highly engineered CCC switchbacks of uniform steps 
cutting through a talus slope on the Perpendicular Trail (#119). 

Fig. 7-27 Details of CCC steps with shims on the Perpendicular 
Trail (#119). 


Chapter 7: Steps 

stepped trail built by the CCC. On this trail, hundreds 
of cut stone steps create a easily traversed route across 
ledgerock and through a talus slope (Fig. 7-28). 

However, most CCC step construction was not as 
extensive as the work on the Perpendicular Trail (#119) 
or the Valley Cove portion of the Flying Mountain 
Trail (#105). Typical CCC work consisted of small runs 
of steps constructed in conjunction with the various 
visitor amenities added to the park during the 1930s. 
Several of these features were constructed to con- 
nect the CCC's newly renovated Ocean Path (#3) with 
parking facilities along the adjacent Ocean Drive (Figs. 
7-29 to 7-31). Also, some steps were added to existing 
trails during CCC rehabilitation. For example, a run 
of steps at the start of the Beachcroft Path (#13) leads 
up the hill from Route 3 to the path itself. The original 
trailhead at Sieur de Monts was closed and the CCC 
added these stairs to access a new parking area across 

the road from the newly established trailhead (Fig. 7- 
32). Other trails where the CCC completed step work 
include the Beech Mountain South Ridge Trail (#109) 
and the Valley Trail (#116) (Figs. 7-33 & 7-34). 

A comparison between the CCC style of step construc- 
tion and the earlier VIA/VIS Bates style is most evident 
on the Ladder Trail (#64). The CCC completely 
rehabilitated the staircases on the lower portion of 
this trail, creating a series of steps with a more uniform 
and constructed appearance and adding appropriate 
drainage features. This style contrasts greatly with the 
less orderly VIA steps that were originally used and 
remained evident on the abandoned Upper Ladder 
Trail (#334) (Figs. 7-35 to 7-37). 

NPS/Mission 66 

Few examples of Mission 66 steps are extant. Gener- 
ally Mission 66 trails were easily accessible trails near 
parking areas and park facilities and did not ascend 
steep slopes. They relied on a few short runs of stone 
steps, such as the two- and three-step staircases 
found on the Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127) and the 
Anemone Cave Trail (#369). Like VIA/VIS and CCC 
steps, these tend to be square blocks set in even runs. 
However, the craftsmanship of the Mission 66 work 
was inferior to previous work, and much of it has since 
fallen into disrepair (Fig. 7-38). 

Fig. 7-28 CCC steps across ledgerock on the Valley Cove Trail 
(#626), shown in 1969. 

Fig. 7-29 CCC steps connecting Ocean Path (#3) with a parking 
area along Ocean Drive, soon after construction, circa 1937. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 7-30 CCC steps at Thunder Hole parking along the Ocean 
Path (#3). 

Fig. 7-31 CCC steps at Otter Cliffs on Ocean Path (#3) adjacent to 
motor road grade separation. 

Fig. 7-33 CCC stone wall and steps on the Beech Mountain South 
Ridge Trail (#109). 

Fig. 7-32 These stone steps were added by the CCC at the newly 
established trailhead for the Beachcroft Path (#13). 

Fig. 7-34 A CCC stone staircase on the Valley Trail (#116). 


Chapter 7: Steps 


^5 :% '#^ 


L " v^,,,- 



JHHfik - >"■■- ' •)* 

-s ^9 j ><fftys^^H msr '"- • 

^B' A 

Fig. 7-35 VIA/VIS Bates-style steps on the Upper Ladder Trail 

Fig. 7-37 CCC steps on the lower section of the Ladder Trail (#64). 

Fig. 7-36 CCC steps along cliff face on the lower section of the 
Ladder Trail (#64). 

Fig. 7-38 The remains of a short run of Mission 66 steps on the 
Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127). 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

National Park Service 

Since the late 1960s, NPS crews have repaired historic 
staircases and have also added a number of staircases 
in places where previously there were none. While 
some of this work was in keeping with the trails' 
historic character, the majority of it was not. Historic 
steps were lost, and new incompatible features like 
riprap and wooden steps were added. 

Since the 1970s, volunteer groups like the Appalachian 
Mountain Club (AMC) have also assisted with some 
step construction projects. This work has not only 
added additional styles of step construction to Acadia, 
it has also introduced a different attitude toward trail 
building, which is not always in keeping with Acadia's 
historic precedent. For example, in reference to step 
building, the AMC trail handbook says: 

For aesthetic reasons. is best to avoid building per- 
fectly straight staircases up a slope. Nature is unruly, so 
put some twists and bends in the staircase.... You can 
also break up the "staircase effect" through use of odd- 
shaped. Offset some steps rather than keep them 
in a direct line.... 36 

This attitude is best shown in the AMC's style of step 
construction, which has been used on several trails at 
Acadia (Fig. 7-39). Only when the NPS began reha- 
bilitation efforts in the 1990s, did it become evident 
that the early trail builders at Acadia espoused a dif- 
ferent attitude toward trail construction. The steps 
themselves were often designed and meant to be 
emphasized as an important aesthetic feature of the 
trail. Depending on the individual trail, achieving a 
"staircase effect" is often a desirable goal to maintain 
historic character. 

Some of the more extreme examples of harm done to 
Acadia's steps: 

• The Spring Trail (#621) was closed in 1975 because 
a staircase could not be repaired due to a lack of 
information and/or skills by workers. 

• During a 1975 "repair" of a CCC staircase at an 
overlook on the Acadia Mountain Trail (#101), 
loose steps were not reused, but simply heaved 
into the ocean. 

• In 1992, CCC step work on Flying Mountain 
(#105) was dismantled and used as scree by a vol- 
unteer work group. 

Even step work of integrity has not always been 
sympathetic to a trail's historic character. Round steps 
have been added to cut block staircases, as with the 
Beachcroft Path (#13) trailhead; steps of odd rise and 
run sizes have been added to staircases with uniform 
rises and runs; and cut and polished granite steps 
have been added to trails or visitor areas adjacent to 
trails, such as staircases constructed at the summit of 
Cadillac Mountain. Consequently, some of the work 
completed by the NPS since 1942 has compounded 
the problems caused by environmental conditions and 
increased usage of the trails. 

However, recent work completed by NPS crews has 
been performed in a more informed manner. Histori- 

Fig. 7-39 These AMC-style steps on the Pond Trail (#20) were 
built according to AMC handbook. However, this style of step 
work, with uneven, slanted steps and the heavy use of scree, is 
not appropriate for the Acadia trail system. 


Chapter 7: Steps 

cal precedents for step construction have been used 
in both the rehabilitation of old steps, as well as in 
the addition of new steps to the trail system. Some 
examples of recent step rehabilitation include work on 
the Pond Trail (#20) and the Ocean Path (#3) at Otter 
Point (Fig. 7-40). 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

No evidence or documentation for step use has been 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

The earliest, or Bates-style, steps were typically small, 
uncut, slab-laid steps of varying sizes constructed in 
short runs. As building skills improved with the advent of 
memorial trails, steps developed into longer engineered 
runs with uniform slab-laid and set-behind steps. These 
Dorr-style steps often used cut stones, coping walls, 
retaining walls, and/or ironwork. Brunnow-style steps 
were similar to earlier styles in their small size and lack of 
coping. They often used cut stones and exhibited a much 
higher level of craftsmanship, especially in the retaining 
walls built underneath the steps. Variations on these styles 
also occurred on many trails. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

The consistency of the CCC work relied on uniform sizes 
of cut, slab-laid steps set in long, engineered runs. Stair- 
cases were usually used in conjunction with coping walls 
and/or retaining walls. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Few steps were used during this period. The typical two- 
or three-step staircases were inferior in quality to previous 
historical work. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Repairs were made to staircases of all eras, both in- 
character and out-of-character (Fig. 7-41). New work 
varied considerably. New styles were introduced, includ- 
ing AMC steps, wooden steps, riprap, and set-behind 
steps as a substitute for slab-laid steps. From the late 1990s 
on, close attention has been paid to rehabilitating and 
constructing steps in the proper style, such as in the 2002 
rehabilitation of Bates-style steps on the Jordan Pond Path 
(#39) (Figs. 7-42 & 7-43). 

1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: Many historic steps and staircases are in serious 
need of repair or replacement resulting in a loss of 
historic fabric and character over the years as trails 
have not been adequately maintained. Some historic 
steps have been replaced with incompatible work, or 
new step styles have been added to the system. After 
water bars and dips, steps are the most common fea- 
ture added to sections of trails where they previously 
did not exist. While the addition of steps can solve 
many problems related to steep grades, in some places 

Fig. 7-40 These stone steps at Otter Point on the Ocean Path (#3) 
were constructed in 2000. 

Fig. 7-41 These stairs from the Park Loop Road to Western Point, 
south of Blackwoods Campground, are too uniform and are out 
of place in the Acadia trail system. 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

they are detrimental to the trail's historical character. 
For example, steps would not be in character for the 
smooth, graveled, "broad" paths like the Stratheden 
Trail (#24). In other areas, the addition of steps may 
change a trail's unconstructed appearance, such as on 
upper Perpendicular Trail (#119) or the Deer Brook 
Trail (#51). 

Treatment Guidelines: Existing historic stone steps 
should be rehabilitated as necessary in the appropri- 

Fig. 7-42 Dilapidated Bates-style steps on the Jordan Pond Path 
(#39) before NPS rehabilitation, see Fig. 7-43. 

Fig. 7-43 NPS rehabilitation of Bates-style steps on the same 
section of the Jordan Pond Path (#39) in 2002. Note varying 
sizes, flat "patio" above the fifth step, and use of both slab-laid 
(top step) and set-behind (front steps). Steps also conform to 
boulders in the landscape. 

ate historic style for the trail. Removal of historic stairs 
should only be considered as a last resort when stairs 
can no longer be repaired or reconstructed, or when 
maintaining these features is no longer a viable option 
due to resource or visitor protection. New stone steps 
may be added in-kind to existing staircases and may be 
considered for sections of trail when there is historic 
precedent of stone step use. New steps may be con- 
sidered for areas with steep ascents (typically over 15 
percent) on the forest floor, through talus fields, or 
across ledgerock. Steps are also an acceptable solution 
for lesser grades with erosion problems. New steps 
should be constructed to complement existing work 
on the trail or fit within the trail's period and style 
of construction. Steps should not be added to trails 
whose character would be changed or interrupted by 
the addition of steps. For example, steps should not be 
used on long sections of smooth graveled tread, such 
as the broad paths or the Ocean Path (#3), or on long 
sections of inclined stone pavement. The alternative 
for steps on inclined graveled paths will be checks 
and/or inside drainage. Wooden steps are not a recom- 
mended treatment option. 

2. Step Style 

Issue: Each step style has pros and cons. Slab-laid steps 
were the most commonly used historically, yet they 
often succumb to rear pressure, which can push the 
steps forward into a "stack," or topple them altogether. 
Particularly vulnerable are steps built in loose or 
poorly drained soil. Small slab-laid steps not "pinched" 
on the sides by coping or ledge can be dislodged by 
foot traffic. Slab-laid staircases also depend on the use 
of rectangular stones of uniform thickness which may 
not always be readily available. While set-behind steps 
are more durable in certain situations and allow the 
use of various stone shapes, they often appear out of 
place in Acadia and have their own problems. Flowing 
water can run directly behind set-behind steps, tread 
size is dictated by stone shape, and building on ledge- 
rock is particularly difficult. In some cases, historic 
step styles are not wide enough to accommodate the 
volume of foot traffic, or the right stone is not available 
to build staircases of a sufficient step-size. 


Chapter 7: Steps 

Treatment Guidelines: Slab-laid steps should be 
replaced in kind. In problem areas where failure is 
likely, larger steps (over 150 pounds) and/or well-built 
coping that "pinch" steps in place will be used to pre- 
vent slab-laid steps from shifting. If steps are being cut 
or shaped, Dorr's "bellying" technique may be used 
to help secure steps from sliding forward. The lower 
surface is shaped so that it locks in and will not slide 
over the step below. In new step construction with 
no historical precedent for slab-laid steps, or in areas 
where drainage problems or a lack of the appropriate 
stone prohibits the building of slab-laid steps, set- 
behind steps may be used. Set-behind steps should be 
built in a way that mimics the appearance of slab-laid 
steps as much as possible, including the use of square 
fronts to the steps and evenly spaced treads and ris- 
ers. When building in an historic style, care should be 
taken to avoid a riprap look with multiple stones set as 
a single step. 

Occasionally, non-historic step styles are necessary 
and may be used, although this is not a preferred 
treatment option and should only be considered as a 
last choice. Riprap steps may be used if the following 
conditions apply: 

• There is no precedent of another style of step in 
that area of the trail. 

• There is a need for a tread-width greater than the 
available stone, or than an historic style will allow. 

• The trail grade is too steep or too vulnerable 
to treat with less conspicuous features, such as 
checks and fill, or causeway. 

Like riprap, log crib steps may also be considered 
when there is no historical precedent. See Chapter 6 
for further information on the use of log cribs. 

3. Use of Pins 

Issue: Unpinned steps and walls constructed directly 
on ledgerock have slid out of place over time, while 
work held by iron pins has generally lasted as long as 
the pins' useful life of over fifty years. However, iron 
pins are not historically accurate on all trails, including 
early VIA/VIS work like the deteriorating steps of the 
Upper Ladder Trail (#334). 

Treatment Guidelines: The addition of pins is an 
acceptable remedy for steps and/or coping wall that 
is in danger of slippage. The options of either setting 
the base of the wall in a stable area, such as insloping 
ledge, or adding coping wall to steps to shore them up, 
should be considered before pins are added to trails 
where they are not historically accurate. If used, stain- 
less steel pins are recommended as a compatible yet 
distinguishable feature and may last much longer than 
the traditional iron. Pins should be placed in incon- 
spicuous locations (see Chapter 8). 

4. Use of Shims 

Issue: In slab-laid construction, shims are often used 
to level a step or keep it from rocking on the step 
below. The use of shims can save the labor of reshap- 
ing a stone, quarrying another, or extensively rebuild- 
ing a section of steps. However, shims can work 
themselves loose over time, often leaving an unstable 
and unsafe step. 

Treatment Guidelines: The use of shims is not rec- 
ommended since they cannot be permanently held 
in place. In cases where shims may have been used 
historically, new steps should be selected or the old 
steps reshaped in order to level and/or stabilize them. 
The use of shims as blocking underneath the sides or 
backs of steps may be considered, provided they are 
set tightly and held on all sides by other stonework. 

5. Drainage 

Issue: In some cases, old steps were built without 
drainage. Water and ice flowing into or over them has 
pushed the steps out of place or led to their total col- 

Treatment Guidelines: Drainage systems built in 
conjunction with historic steps or steps constructed in 
an historic style should be in keeping with other drain- 
age systems used in conjunction with similar steps. For 
Dorr-style and CCC steps this includes culverts under- 
neath steps. For all other styles, such drains should be 
used only as a last resort and be kept as subtle as pos- 
sible. In nearly all cases another drainage option may 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

be more appropriate, such as subgrade drainage, side 
drainage, or cross drainage above the staircase. 

6. Stabilization 

Issue: Several historic trails at Acadia are no longer 
marked and maintained. There are many original steps 
and staircases on these trails which need stabilization 
to prevent further deterioration and loss of historic 

Treatment Guidelines: Stabilization of steps on 
abandoned trails should be done in the least intru- 
sive method possible. Small repairs, like on a piece 
of retaining wall or a single step in order to keep a 
staircase from collapsing, will be the first choice. Dete- 
riorated pins and slipped shims should be replaced as 
needed. If the repair is extensive, new stainless steel 
pins and shims should be inconspicuously added to 
prevent further collapse. Drainage threats should be 
resolved using methods that do not sacrifice the integ- 
rity of the step or staircase, such as dips and ditching. 


1. General Guidelines for Historic Stone Steps 

• Steps and staircases should be constructed of 
stone either taken directly from the site, or stone 
that is indistinguishable from local stone. 

• Rectangular stones, especially those with flat 
surfaces for the tread, are preferred over rounded 

• Slab-laid construction is preferred over set- 
behind, though both may be used if needed. 

• When possible, staircases should be used in either 
straight or curving rows. 

• Steps are as even as possible, given the construc- 
tion technique, the surrounding landscape and the 
general terrain. 

• Rise and run of steps are negotiable. Treads are 
deep enough to land on, and risers are within 
reach of the average stride. 

• Steps are intended to stand out as constructed fea- 
tures, becoming objects of interest, even admira- 
tion, to the hiker. 

Sizes differ 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Baitet 

Fig. 7-45 Details for a typical VIA/VIS Bates-style staircase. 


Chapter 7: Steps 

The degree to which a given staircase will meet the 
general step criteria depends on the particular con- 
struction model for that set of steps. For example, 
Bates-style steps rely on local uncut stone and will be 
as even and uniform as the material allows. CCC steps 
will be of cut stone laid on a reconfigured trail align- 
ment to assure that each step is nearly identical in size 
and spacing to the other steps throughout the staircase. 

The following historic styles of steps are to be used as 
guidelines when rehabilitating existing steps or adding 
new steps to the trail system. 

• Bates-style VIA/VIS steps 

• Dorr-style VIA/VIS steps 

• Brunnow-style VIA/VIS steps 

• CCC steps 

Specifications for construction of each of these step 
types have been identified through field investigations 
and historic research. These are described below. 

2. Construction Techniques for Historic Stone Steps 

Adhering to the following chart (Fig. 7-47), specific 
needs for rise and run are calculated, and stone sizes 
and shapes are determined, then quarried or shaped, 
with the appropriate amount of variation for the style. 
The area around the step is excavated of organic soil 
and loose stone. The bottom step is set at least 6 inches 
below ground on inorganic soil, crushed stone, or 
bedrock, or it is keyed or pinned onto ledge so that it 
cannot slip forward. 

In slab-laid construction (Figs. 7-3 & 7-46), the area 
behind each step is packed as the core of a retaining 
wall (see Chapter 6). If coping or sidewall is not to be 
used, exposed core stones must be laid as a wall under 
the step, as with Brunnow-style construction. 

Coping, sidewall, and/or retaining wall should be 
constructed as the steps are laid as one interwoven 
structure. If coping or sidewall is to be used, coping 

Usually coping 

Even runs 
and risers 

Steps are 
at least 6" 

Rock base for 
drainage and stability 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 

Fig. 7-46 Detail of a typical staircase from the CCC or VIA/VIS period. 





Brunnow-style VIAI 
VIS Steps 

CCC Steps 

Type of 

Slab-laid and set- 
behind; often both 
types in one staircase 

Slab-laid and set- 
behind; often both 
types in one staircase 



Layout of 

Short, sporadic flights 
broken by sections of 
level tread; natural 
features like boulders 
are often incorporated 
into the staircase, or 
the steps go around 

Flights in straight lines 
or engineered curves; 
landscape often 
altered to 
regularity of staircase 

Some staircases 
engineered, others 
dictated by the 

engineered and laid 
out to exacting 
standards and 

Stone Type 

Uncut; shape varies; 
at least one flat 

Primarily cut; some 
uncut; rectangular 

Cut or uncut; 

Primarily cut; some 
uncut; rectangular 

Stone Size 

Varies greatly 




Typical Run 





Typical Rise 





Typical Step 

8"-48"; typically 
smaller than other 



12"-60"; typically 
over 30" on well 
traveled paths 


Irregular rises and 
runs, varying greatly 
from step to step 

Regular rises and runs 
within staircases; 
varies between 

Rises and runs may or 
may not be consistent 
within a staircase and/ 
or between staircases 

Regular rises and runs 
within staircases; 
varies between 


Typically used; uncut 
single or piled stones 
no more than 12" 
above steps 

Typically used; large 
cut or uncut single 
stones or retaining 

Not used 

Typically used; single 
cut or uncut stones of 
various sizes 

Support Wall 


Laid wall 

Laid wall 

Laid wall 

Iron Pins 


Steps, coping and 
retaining walls may 
be pinned 

Steps may be pinned 

Coping and retaining 
walls may be pinned 












capstone culverts 
and side drains 

Fig. 7-47 Historic styles of steps and specifications. 



will hold the core and it need only be packed solidly. 
Coping stones should span the joints between steps. 

Each next step is set on the previous step and core so 
that it overlaps the step by at least 6 inches (1 foot is 
ideal). The step should contact the lower step at least 
once and should be stable without shims. If shims are 
appropriate to the area, exposed shim stones may be 
used. These should be part of the core and locked 
underneath and on the side by coping may be used. 

In set-behind steps, the core is packed behind the 
step to a level that will lift the next step to the desired 
height (Fig. 7-2). The upper step sits on the core only, 
contacting the lower step along its face. To ensure that 
steps are locked in, each upper step should be set at 
least 3 inches below the top of the step below. Small 
gaps between steps are packed only after a number of 
steps are set, to prevent separation. The same tech- 
niques are appropriate for constructing accompanying 
coping or retaining wall. 

3. Construction Techniques for Riprap Steps (Fig. 7-4) 

Riprap steps should be considered as a treatment 
option if the following apply: 

1. The trail is high-use trail that must have a corridor 
wider than most available stone. 

2. There is no appropriate historical solution. 

3. The area is not in close proximity to historic steps. 

All building stones should contact abutting stones. The 
step's top surface should be relatively flat, and stones 
should be set so they are flush with each other. All gaps 
should be chinked so that the result is a flat and level 
surface free of gaps or impediments. 

Rise and run should be consistent over a span of steps. 
Risers should be 4 to 10 inches (ideally 6 or 8 inches), 
but should be the same for each step. Width may vary 
from staircase to staircase depending upon the trail's 
use and other factors, but should be no narrower than 
2 feet. Runs should be even throughout the structure, 
a minimum of 1 foot (ideally 16 inches or greater). 
Flat "patio" areas (see Fig. 7-13) may be incorporated 

between steps, but runs of evenly spaced steps should 
be as long as the terrain allows so that hiking will be 
more natural. 

The core under the steps is constructed as with other 
steps, according to the principles of core building 
for retaining walls (see Chapter 6). Proper height is 
achieved by constructing the blocking under each 
stone so that it holds the stone to the correct height; 
sometimes the stone must be put in and taken out 
a number of times for correct adjustment. Blocking 
should span the breadth of the stone, rather than sup- 
porting the step stones under just one or two points. 
Friction with abutting stones should not be depended 
on to keep stones from sinking or tilting; "pinch sets," 
which are hollow underneath, should never be used. 

Riprap is always built in conjunction with a wall on 
each side, or natural features contacting the steps on 
each side to keep individual stones in place. Single- 
tiered walls should contain stones of substantial size 
(generally 2 cubic feet or greater) and set header-style 
to withstand movement, unless they are very large. 
Multi-tiered retaining walls should be constructed 
according to wall specifications (see Chapter 6). The 
top tier, which holds the riprap together, should be 
constructed of large stones leaning into the structure 
(2 cubic feet is ideal). In all cases, wall stones should 
contact each other, and contact the steps toward the 
top of the step stones for greatest integrity. Wall stones 
should also span the joints between riprap steps. 

When riprap is constructed against the side of a hill, 
the hill-side of the structure should still be supported 
with a row of stones dug into the earth, to apply 
maximum pressure to the structure; this is often called 
a "false wall" because the stones are trapped between 
earth and the structure, and are therefore not really a 
retaining wall. 

The first tier should be one or more large stones set at 
least 1 foot deep in the ground so that the top of the 
stone is flush with the original ground level. Sometimes 
the bottom tier is keyed behind a substantial lip in the 
ledge, or locked in behind a large extant stone, or is 



held with iron pins. The set of the first tier is of crucial 
importance to the integrity of the structure. 

The front stones of each step are keyed behind and in 
contact with the rear stones of the step below. Front 
stones of the upper step should span the joints of the 
lower step, as in a retaining wall. Header-set stones 
may be as small as Vi cubic foot, or 1 cubic foot if cake- 
set. Both must be set a minimum of 4 inches behind 
the step in front, deeper if they are at the small end of 
the acceptable sizes. Toast sets can be used as front 
steps only if two-thirds of their height is below the step 
in front. They should be stones at least 1 cubic foot in 
size. Contact between front stones of a step should 
be within 1 inch of their tops, and toward the front of 
these stones. The face of each step should be within 1 
inch of vertical in either direction, with little overhang 
or back-slope. 

Rear stones may be set in any orientation. Ideally, they 
should break the joints of front stones, but this isn't as 
crucial as in other areas. They should be set at least 6 
inches deep in the step, deeper if they are small. Stones 
with a very small stepping surface may be used if they 
are set deep into the step as "pegs." 

All gaps should be fitted with the largest and deepest 
stones that will fit and be flush at the top. Small rocks 
should be packed and crushed into the remaining gaps 
until the step is smooth at the top and one continuous 
structure with very few gaps in its core. 


1. Create or maintain any drainage that protects the 
steps (see Chapter 4). 

2. Any erosion at the bottom of stairs should be dealt 
with to prevent slippage. Slipped steps on which 
other steps are laid, most commonly bottom steps, 
should be reset as soon as possible to prevent a 
domino effect in which the entire staircase col- 

3. Remove invasive vegetation from coping walls, 
retaining walls, and between steps. Otherwise, 
roots may separate the stonework. 


36 Carl Demrow and David Salisbury, The Complete Guide to Trail 
Building and Maintenance (Boston: Appalachian Mountain Club 
Books, 1998), 135. 


Fig. 8-1 Iron pins hold an overhanging boulder at Sieur de Monts Crag on the Emery Path (#15). 




Acadia Trails Treatment plan 


Ironwork consists of pins, rungs, railings, lad- 
ders, and bridges that are drilled into stone. Iron 
enables rigorous hiking on cliffside trails and 
supports some of the finest stonework on the island. 
Without iron, many of the steepest trails would not be 
feasible. An abundance of ironwork is one of the many 
distinguishing characteristics of Acadia's trail system. 

Iron was possibly introduced to the trail system in the 
late 1800s. Its use increased dramatically in the 1910s 
for the construction of VIA/VIS cliffside trails, such 
as the Beehive Trail (#7) and Precipice Trail (#11), and 
for the construction of memorial trails, such as the 
Emery Path (#15) and the Van Santvoord Trail (#450) 
(Fig. 8-1). The CCC also installed iron, but to a lesser 
degree. Much of the original VIA/VIS ironwork is 
still extant, although it is now nearly ninety years old. 
This ironwork requires careful inspection and, when 
necessary, replacement to ensure safety. In some loca- 

tions additional iron has been added to provide greater 
assistance to hikers. Such additions are limited, how- 
ever, so as to prevent hikers from climbing to heights 
beyond their abilities and to preserve the character of 
these climbs. Replacement iron and additions are dis- 
tinguishable only upon close inspection. In concealed 
locations stainless steel pins are now used, which are 
compatible yet distinguishable from original iron. 


Ironwork as identified at Acadia is a constructed iron 
or steel trail feature, affixed to stone, for the purpose of 
either supporting structures or aiding hikers. It gener- 
ally consists of rolled steel, though often it is square 
steel stock, angle iron, or any assorted pieces of steel. 
Ironwork includes the following components (Figs. 
8-2 to 8-6): 

Fig. 8-2 Pin holding step on the Homans Path (#349). 

Fig. 8-3 Pinned log, rungs, and ladder on Perpendicular Trail 
(#119). A series of rungs as shown here may also be called a 


Chapter 8: Ironwork 

A pin is any piece of solid iron or stainless steel used 
for fastening, holding, or supporting steps, wall, cop- 
ing, overhanging boulders, bridge stringers, or any 
other constructed feature. 

A rung is a foot perch, crosspiece of a ladder, or a 

A rail, or railing, is generally rolled steel, extending 
from one point or support to another, that serves as a 
guard, barrier, handrail, or support. Some railings are 
supported on iron stanchions, which serve as posts. 
Railings are also constructed with galvanized pipe. 

A ladder is a structure for climbing that consists of 
two sidepieces joined at intervals by crosspieces on 
which a hiker may step or hold. A series of ascending 
or descending rungs, without sidepieces, is also often 
described as a ladder. 

An iron bridge is a series of bars, perpendicular to the 
tread and supported by angle iron, used to span gaps 
between ledges. 

Fig. 8-5 Rung handrails and ladder on the Ladder Trail (#64). 

Fig. 8-4 Railing supported on stanchions on the Orange and 
Black Path (#348). 

Fig. 8-6 An iron bridge on the Beehive Trail (#7). 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Iron pins are the most prevalent yet least visible 
ironwork on the trail system. Most pins are concealed 
below large coping stones, retaining walls, culvert 
headwalls, and on the sides of stone steps. Some are 
concealed above the trail where they hold overhang- 
ing boulders together, acting like iron staples. Other 
pins are visible where they anchor slab-laid steps 
onto ledges. Pins support signs, bridges, and iron and 
wooden railings. Some pins were probably used to 
anchor construction equipment. There are a vari- 
ous pins in the park marking pre-park boundaries. 
Instances of pins with absolutely no discernible pur- 
pose are also scattered throughout the park. 

Iron rungs, rails, ladders, bridges, and pinned steps 
are used to aid hikers on steep rock ledges. In a few 
locations, including the Beehive Trail (#6), Cliff Path 
to Great Cave (#347), and the South and North Bubble 
Cliff Trail, (#451 & 459), iron bridges are used to 
span gaps between ledges. Ironwork on its own or in 
combination with stone or wood construction allows 
hikers to climb with relative security in areas that 
would otherwise require technical rock climbing gear, 
or sheer madness. 

Mountain, of Newport, of Sargent's, of Kebo and sev- 
eral others." Although several trails dating to the 1890s 
do contain ironwork, it is undocumented as to when 
the ironwork was initially installed. 

The Ladder Trail (#64), which was described as a 
new route in 1896, shown on the 1896 path map, and 
labeled on the 1901 path map, may be the first trail to 
use ironwork: "This latter [sic] path down the eastern 
slope of Dry is quite steep and needs to be followed 
with caution" (Fig. 8-7). It is possible its name was 
derived from the iron ladders used on the trail. The 
Goat Trail (#444) on Pemetic Mountain has a small 
amount of ironwork of varying types. It is mostly 
round iron, with a few square pieces, and primarily 
consists of rungs and step pinning (Figs. 8-8 & 8-9). 
The Shore Path (#427) along ledges near Seal Harbor 
(#427) and the Ingraham Rocks Path (#445), both 
shown on the 1896 path map, traversed the cliff tops 
and their initial construction likely included iron 
stanchions, iron railings, or iron bridges. Remnants of 
this ironwork, including a rod-and-turnbuckle anchor, 
are visible and definitively dated in a 1908 photo of a 
bridge along the path. Portions of these paths and their 
iron are still present today (Fig. 8-10). 



Iron was used across Mount Desert in the late 1800s. 
Ships tied to eyebolts or to piers of pinned granite 
blocks. Logs sluiced and drove through gauntlets of 
iron-pinned side dams, roll dams, and coffer dams. In 
1883 the Green Mountain Railway climbed Cadillac 
on tracks anchored with hundreds of iron pins. Cyrus 
Hall's quarry employed hundreds of workers during 
the late 1800s, all of whom could have easily applied 
the skills of their trade to the growing trail system on 
Acadia. No documentation of ironwork on trails exists, 
however, until 1908. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Using iron on trails would have furthered the VIA/VIS 
purpose to enable "the public to climb with ease and 
delight in the steeps of Green Mountain, of Dry [Dorr] 

The installation of iron became more common in the 
early 1900s beginning with the supervision of Bar 
Harbor VIA Path Committee Chairman Rudolph 
Brunnow. Landscape Designer and Superintendent 
of Paths Andrew Liscomb, local masons, and laborers 
most likely carried out the actual work. Brunnow laid 
out some of the most challenging trails on the eastern 
side of the island, along the cliffs of Champlain Moun- 
tain, selecting routes that would be nearly impossible 
to ascend without the use of iron. Between 1913 and 
1916, along the eastern cliffs of Champlain Mountain, 
the VIA/VIS installed extensive iron for pins, rungs, 
railings, ladders and bridges on the Precipice Trail 
(#11), the Beehive Trail (#7), the Cliff Path (#347), and 
the Orange and Black Path (#348). Ironwork was also 
used in the Brigham Trail (#366) when it was built 
in 1924-1925. On the Precipice Trail (#11), ironwork 
offered a novel climbing adventure up the cliff by rungs, 
rails, and ladders as described in the 1915 Path Guide 


Chapter 8: Ironwork 

(Figs. 8-11 & 8-12). The 1928 Path Guide refers to a 
sign at the base of the trail: "Precipice Trail, which is 
steep and dizzy: for experienced climbers only." Long 
sections of iron handrails were installed along the most 
exposed sections of the trail. These were built in com- 
bination with a wooden bridge connecting two ledges 
(Fig. 8-13). The Beehive Trail (#7) contains extensive 
pins, rungs, rails, and a small iron bridge that spans two 
ledges (Figs. 8-14 & 8-15, also Fig. 8-6). On the Cliff 

Path (#347) iron supports stone paving over a ravine 
(Fig. 8-16). On the Orange and Black Path (#348) iron 
pins were set in the front center of each step to hold 
together a staircase (see Chapter 7, Fig. 7-22). 

In the Sieur de Monts Spring area, on several memo- 
rial trails built under the direction of George Dorr, 
iron was used to achieve a different purpose: to create 
a highly crafted and easy-to-walk trail across rugged 

Fig. 8-7 Ladder on the Ladder Trail (#64). 

Fig. 8-9 Pipe railing along steps on Goat Trail (#444). 

Fig. 8-8 Rungs and handrail on Goat Trail (#444). 

Fig. 8-10 Iron railing with stanchions on Shore Path (#427) in 



Fig. 8-11 Rungs and handrails on Precipice Trail (#11), circa 1920. 

Fig. 8-13 A view in 1958 of the wooden bridge and iron handrail 
along the Precipice Trail (#11) ledges. The bridge was later 
destroyed by a rockslide. 

Fig. 8-14 These pins on the Beehive Path (#7) are too long and 
can be seen by hikers on the trail. 

Fig. 8-12 Climbers ascend the Precipice Trail (#11) with the 
assistance of iron rungs, circa 1920. 

Fig. 8-15 Rungs and rails on the Beehive Trail (#7). 


Chapter 8: Ironwork 

Fig. 8-16 Side view of iron bridge surfaced with flat stones on 
the Cliff Path (#347). 

Fig. 8-17 The Beachcroft Path (#13) showing a low pinned 
retaining wall originally designed to hold gravel tread, which has 
been lost. 

Fig. 8-18 Pin supporting coping stone, not visible from the trail, 
on the Beachcroft Path (#13). 

terrain. On the Beachcroft Path (#13), along steep 
sections and across ledges, iron pins hold many base 
and key rocks of laid and piled retaining walls, as well 
as many coping stones. This use of iron for walls is not 
found on earlier trails. Most of these pins are obscured 
from the hiker's view (Figs. 8-17 & 8-18). On the 
Homans Path (#349), completed in 1915, iron was used 
in only four locations to hold steps and coping sidewall 
(Fig. 8-19, also Fig. 8-2). (It is possible some of these 
pins are a later repair or alteration.) The Emery Path 
(#15), completed in 1916, contains extensive, concealed 
iron pins to support coping stones and walls, which are 
some of the highest trail walls at Acadia (Figs. 8-20 & 
8-21). Pins were also used to hold retaining walls built 
with logs, which formed pinned log walkways (Fig. 8- 
22). A less common use of ironwork was to stabilize a 
large boulder above the path (see Fig. 8-1). It is inter- 
esting to note that in areas where iron was not used, 
the actions of gravity, erosion, and ice over the past 
one hundred years have altered the initial placement of 
many steps, wall rocks, and coping stones. 

While the most extensive ironwork was carried out 
under the direction of Brunnow and Dorr, ironwork 
was also used by the Seal Harbor VIS for the memorial 
Van Santvoord Trail (#450), completed in 1915 under 
the direction of Path Committee Chairman Joseph 
Allen. Here, iron was used in a manner that anchors 
steps to ledge from behind as opposed to pinning 
them in front (Figs. 8-23 & 8-24). On the present NPS 
trail system, the Penobscot Mountain Trail (#47) had 
wooden steps over a short section of open ledge and 
pinned handrails in an area that is relatively safe and 
easy to traverse without these aids. Other examples of 
Seal Harbor VIS ironwork appear on the Jordan Cliffs 
Trail (#48), the Shore Path (#427), and the Goat Trail 

When America entered World War I there was a lull 
in new feats of ironwork until circa 1926 when the 
Gurnee Path (#352) was built along Eden Street in Bar 
Harbor. Iron pins were used to support both wooden 
railings and many sections of laid retaining wall. In 
1928, the South Bubble Cliff Trail (#451) was built by 
the Bar Harbor VIA or Seal Harbor VIS using log steps 



Fig. 8-19 Pin supporting steps on the Homans Path (#349). 


■- . <■■ •■■■-' - J, ' * 

■ "'-'■"■■■ ~^r* 

w^^^^ ~** 

- ^Hi 

Fig. 8-20 Trail builders used iron pins to hold many coping stones 
along ledges and steep slopes, such as seen here on the Emery 
Path (#15) in a 1920 photo. 

Fig. 8-21 Contemporary view of Emery Path (#15) pins holding 
coping stones. In the foreground a stone has toppled over the 
ledge, leaving the pin exposed. 

Fig. 8-22 A pinned retaining log on the Ladder Trail (#64) shown in the 1920s 


Chapter 8: Ironwork 

pinned to ledge. Comparable pinned log construc- 
tion was used on the North Bubble Cliff Trail (#459) 
in 1929. Despite the addition of iron steps and rails in 
1931, the dramatic South Bubble Cliff Trail was consid- 
ered too dangerous by some hikers. The trail was not 
maintained during the 1940s and was eliminated by the 
NPS in the 1950s by removing some but not all of the 
iron. Skeletal traces of this marvelous example of the 
bygone trail system remain rusting and broken (Figs. 
8-25 to 8-28). 

Additional interesting ironwork from this same time 
period occurs on the southern portion of the Jordan 
Cliffs Trail (#48). This trail contains a few pinned logs 
and steps, one pinned wooden rail at a bridge, and 
less than a dozen hand rungs. There is also pre-1900 
work on the nearby Bluff Path (#457) across the top 
of Jordan Bluff. Comparison in the field and research 
on maps and guidebooks implies that the work and 
the iron on Jordan Cliffs is part of a 1932 connection 
to the Sargent East Cliff Trail (northern end of Jordan 
Cliffs Trail, #48). It is quite different in style from the 
rudimentary steps and patio, and lack of iron, on the 
1896 Bluff Path (#457). 

Notably, there are highly crafted VIA/VIS routes that 
contain little or no ironwork. The Andrew Murray 
Young Path (#25) and Gorge Path (#28) have only a 
few pins that anchor stone pavement and wall. In the 
trail districts of both the Northeast Harbor VIS and 
Southwest Harbor VIA, there is no evidence of iron- 
work until the CCC era. 

The VIA/VIS materials and methods for installing iron 
were essentially the same as the present methods (see 
"Specifications for Ironwork"). It is interesting to note 
that any material available was employed. Many pins 
were broken drill steels, old bolts, eyebolts in places 
where the "eye" was unnecessary, and of more than 
one diameter in the same general area. There are even 
instances of a square pins in use. It appears that the 
path builders were comfortable using whatever iron 
was available. 

Ironwork was inspected annually by the VIA/VIS path 
committees. According to Frederic Weekes, path com- 
mittee chairman for the Bar Harbor VIA from 1918 to 
1923, each autumn iron railings and ladders on the cliff 
trails were given two coats of paint to prevent deterio- 
ration and rust during the winter. 

The usage varies 
among different 
step Pins may 
occur on one or 
both sides of steps, 
or stone coping may 
support one side 
with pins located in 
the other side 

Iron pin 
into step 

Iron pin anchored — 
into ledgerock 

Fig. 8-23 An unusual placement of pins holding steps on the Van 
Santvoord Trail (#450). 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Slellptlug 

Fig. 8-24 Detail of various pin placements for stone steps. 


Acadia trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 8-25 Climber using hand and foot rails on the South Bubble 
Cliff Trail (#451) in 1955. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

Iron pins, rungs, and ladders were used extensively in 
some sections of trail built by the CCC in ways similar 
to the VIA/VIS. When the CCC installed ironwork, 
it was most often used in the areas of difficult terrain, 
such as steep grade or exposed ledge, in order to sup- 
port structures and assist hikers. Written and photo- 
graphic documentation of CCC ironwork has not yet 
been found, though ample physical evidence remains. 

The CCC installed iron ladders on the Beech Cliff 
Ladder Trail (#106) in the 1930s. One rung and four 
different ladders guided hikers up the cliff face. For 
comparison, on the Brunnow trails of Champlain 
Mountain, ladders usually consisted of individual 
rungs in series. The Beech Cliff ladders, however, 
incorporated rolled steel crosspieces fitted and welded 
to angle iron sidepieces with 110 feet of 3^-inch wire 
rope cable providing safety railing for hikers. This type 
of railing, with 2-inch square metal stanchions and 
eyebolts for support, is unique among Acadia's trails 
(Figs. 8-29 to 8-32). 

Fig. 8-26 Remnant railings on the South Bubble Cliff Trail (#451) 
in 1999. 

Fig. 8-27 Iron bridge across ledges on the South Bubble Cliff Trail 
(#451) in 1963. 


Chapter 8: Ironwork 

It is interesting to note that the Ladder Trail (#64), 
which was heavily reworked by the CCC, incorporates 
two of the crosspiece/welded rung-style ladders as 
seen on Beech Cliff (Fig. 8-33). Likewise, the Perpen- 
dicular Trail (#119) climbs a short 4-foot ladder (see 
Fig. 8-3). This is an apparent CCC approach to ladders, 
as opposed to typical VIA/VIS rung ladders. 

Fig. 8-28 Remnant iron bridge on the South Bubble Cliff Trail 
(#451) in 1999. 

Fig. 8-30 End of rope cable on Beech Cliff Ladder Trail (#106). 

Fig. 8-31 Cable on stanchions on the Beech Cliff Ladder Trail 

Fig. 8-29 Ladder on the Beech Cliff Ladder Trail (#106). 

Fig. 8-32 Fastener for ladder on the Beech Cliff Ladder Trail 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

On the Perpendicular Trail (#119), 160 feet of walled 
tread and switchback is secured with pins. Most of 
these are Vi inch diameter, and only 2 to 3 inches tall. 
They are barely discernible, with no detrimental effect 
on the overall view of the intricate stonework (Fig. 
8-34). There are also pins throughout the Valley Cove 
section of Flying Mountain Trail (#105). One section, 
though, reveals a most remarkable use of iron in the 
form of a pinned rock walkway. This tread runs 60 
feet across open ledge. Two dozen steps are secured in 
place with eighteen pins, with evidence of five to seven 
other pins rusted away. Perhaps these pins were not as 
visible when first installed. Possibly, vegetation in the 
area concealed these pins. With subsequent vegeta- 
tion loss over the years, they are now highly visible 
(Fig. 8-35). In contrast to the extensive use of iron on 
some CCC trails, the highly crafted Valley Trail (#116) 
contains extensive walls and stonework steps with no 


— ~ : £fc t 5^E - 


m, < 

. > 



Two areas deserve special note as curious anomalies. 
First, along the Long Pond Trail (#118), a pinned log 
walkway exists, creating tread approximately 24 inches 
wide. It is so out of character with the 4-foot width of 
over 2 miles of this trail that this may be a later repair 
or alteration of a pinned retaining wall. Second, on 
the Perpendicular Trail (#119), a highly crafted trail 

Fig. 8-34 This section of coping and retaining wall along a 
staircase on the Perpendicular Trail (#119) is held in place with 
iron pins that are expertly hidden among the stone. It is typical 
of the type of ironwork used by the CCC on this trail. 

Fig. 8-33 Ladder on Ladder Trail (#64), a VIA trail, similar to the 
CCC type. 

Fig. 8-35 Increased pin visibility resulting from vegetation loss 
on the Flying Mountain Trail (#105). 


Chapter 8: Ironwork 

with extensive stonework, there are very few rungs, a 
pinned log, and a short ladder (Fig. 8-36, also Fig. 8-3). 
Careful examination of this area suggests that steps 
may have been used, or at least planned for, since there 
are step-shaped blocks immediately to the side of the 
trail, stacked and indeed usable as steps. The ladder 
differs slightly from the original Beech Cliff ladders. 
The limited use of rungs on this trail, the possibility of 
steps set aside, and the difference in character from 
other CCC work suggest this iron was a later addition. 

NPS/Mission 66 

There is no record or evidence of Mission 66 using 
ironwork. However, improvements to the Lower 
Mountain Road in the early 1960s included the addi- 
tion of galvanized pipe hand railings and iron rungs 
near the Park Loop Road. 

National Park Service 

NPS has continued to install and maintain ironwork. 
Most work involves the replacement of broken or 
rusted rungs or rails. New rungs are occasionally 
installed in areas that cannot be climbed without iron 
and where hiker safety is a concern. In some instance 
in the early 1980s, rungs were replaced with pre-made 
rungs of differing lengths. This accounts for some 
of the Precipice Trail (#11) rung ladders which con- 
tain various-length hand/footholds. Also, many rung 
placements show visible drill holes within a few inches 

of their present location. This serves as evidence of 
replacements, as drill holes normally cannot be reused. 
Again, on The Precipice, the safety rails near the wood 
bridge exhibit up to three holes, suggesting as many 
replacements over the years. In spite of replacements, 
many of the original rungs remain in the system. 

The current iron ladders on the Beech Cliff Ladder 
Trail (#106) are replacements of the CCC originals. 
One ladder was replaced in 1976, the other three in 
1984. The bracing is different from the original, and the 
second ladder up was lengthened due to erosion at its 
base, but in general the spirit and intent of the original 
trail has been followed. 

In the 1980s, to cope with increasing sign vandalism, 
NPS crew began pinning both standard and log sign 
posts to ledge areas. A K-inch pin is run alongside the 
post, with a bolt through both pin and post (Fig. 8-37). 

During the 1990s, new materials and methods of 
installation have been used by NPS crews. Stainless 

Fig. 8-36 Pinned log on the Perpendicular Trail (#119) (refer also 
to Fig. 8-3). 

Fig. 8-37 Pinning technique used to deter sign vandalism on 
signpost at the Bear Brook Trail trailhead (#10). 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

steel pins were introduced on the Beachcroft Path 
(#13) to secure a wall foundation. These were used 
to differentiate new work from original pins and in 
hopes they would last longer. Ironwork was added 
to some traditionally iron-free areas. One rung was 
installed on the Parkman Mountain Trail (#59) and 
one on the Acadia Mountain Trail (#101), which was 
later removed. Several foot and hand rungs have been 
added to the Precipice Trail (#11). In some cases this 
has been in response to genuine concerns. Erosion 
may have altered conditions in such a way that rungs 
are a necessity. Additionally, the death of a hiker on 
the Beehive Trail (#7) in 2000 necessitated the addi- 
tion of more rungs in one area to address visitor safety; 
this may happen elsewhere throughout the system. 
New methods of installation were developed, includ- 
ing the use of chemical cement to anchor ironwork, 
and bending the pin prior to insertion, with the pres- 
sure on the crimped pin providing the friction to hold 
it in place. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

There is no record of the use of ironwork prior to the 
VIA/VIS period. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

There was extensive use of iron pins, rungs, rails, ladders, 
and bridges on many, but not all highly crafted trails, 
particularly cliff trails. The iron was generally painted. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Iron pins, rungs, and ladders were used on sections of 
cliffside and pondside trails. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

There was no use of ironwork during this period. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Rusted iron rungs and ladders were replaced. Additional 
ironwork included pins for wall repairs, pinning signposts 
to ledge, and new rungs and ladders for hiker safety and 
convenience. Stainless steel pins and chemical cements 
were introduced. 


1. Durability 

Issue: Rust, rockfall, and areas of constant use affect 
the longevity of ironwork, particularly of rails, rungs, 
and stanchions. Historic records indicate the VIA/VIS 
painted iron to inhibit rust. 

Treatment Guidelines: Some iron will require more 
frequent replacement due to rust, rockfalls, or high 
use. If a section of iron is damaged or destroyed by 
a rockfall, replacement ironwork should be placed 
outside of the rock fall line when possible, to reduce 
the likelihood of future damage. Changes in loca- 
tion should be documented. In certain areas, railing 
stanchions occasionally break due to stress or rockfall. 
Replacement of these stanchions should be considered 
part of the long-term maintenance program if altera- 
tions would greatly affect the appearance or experi- 
ence of a given trail or trail section. Ironwork should 
not be painted. Many unpainted rungs have lasted 
over eighty years, suggesting the gain from painting 
is negligible. Deterioration is more prevalent in areas 
subject to seasonal water flow and moisture. If pos- 
sible, ironwork should be placed in areas that remain 
relatively dry. 

2. Size of Materials 

Issue: Most extant ironwork is M-inch-diameter steel 
for rungs or rails; however, some historic iron used a 
smaller diameter. 

Treatment Guidelines: For safety and longevity, 
replacement iron rungs and rails should be a minimum 
of % inch diameter, which is sufficient to withstand 

3. Use of Stainless Steel 

Issue: Stainless steel was not used historically on the 
trail system, but it offers a new solution to prevent 
deterioration by rust. 

Treatment Guidelines: Because of its lack of historic 
authenticity, and its smooth surface that provides little 
friction for a grip, stainless is not presently recom- 


Chapter 8: Ironwork 

mended for use on highly visible and used features 
like ladders, rungs, and rails. Stainless steel pins may 
be used to support rock wall or coping where they are 
not visible and are not intended to be used directly by 
a hiker. 

Additionally, stainless steel is slightly more brittle than 
iron, and may not hold up to the stresses of con- 
stant use on frequently used features. However, as it 
generally corrodes at a slower rate, stainless steel may 
indeed last longer than iron. Test applications of stain- 
less should be implemented to document and study the 
long-term endurance and reliability of stainless steel. 

4. Adding Rungs or Rails 

Issue: The ease in which iron can be used to solve 
tread problems may preclude the use of less-intensive 
solutions, or cause overuse. Adding new iron rungs or 
rails for hiker convenience may affect the character of 
a trail or trail sections. Additions may also affect physi- 
cal visitor experience. That is, a trail may become more 
easily traversed, and some of the thrill of a difficult 
section may be lost. Some of the feeling of climbing on 
natural surfaces may be compromised. 

5. Adding Pins 

Issue: Pins are often used as a quick and easy solution 
for supporting structures such as retaining walls and 
wooden railings. 

Treatment Guidelines: Pins may be added for the pur- 
pose of supporting structures such as retaining walls 
or wooden railings. Added pins should be hidden or 
disguised so as not to alter the appearance of the trail. 
In particular, added stainless steel pins should be well 
concealed. Additions should be documented. 

6. Documentation 

Issue: New ironwork is often difficult to distinguish 
from historical work. This may affect maintenance or 
inspection procedures, or future historical research. 

Treatment Guidelines: The use of stainless steel 
pins distinguishes new work. In lieu of stainless steel, 
maintaining comprehensive documentation will suffice 
for differentiation between new and historical work. 
Historic pins should not be removed unless absolutely 

Treatment Guidelines: Iron should not be used as a 
panacea. Its use should be tied to what is appropriate 
to the individual trail, rather than simply adding rungs, 
rails, or pins where they were not used historically. For 
example, rungs should not be added to an eroded area 
of a woodland trail. Ironwork should not be installed 
under misguided attempts to make trails easier to 
traverse. This would include areas where there is only 
a slight drop-off along the tread, where tread width is 
safe and sufficient, or where there are several handhold 


1. Hole Depth 

Ladders: Ladder supports, either for VIA/VIS trails or 
the CCC ladders, require a minimum 4-inch depth. 

Pins: Pins supporting stonework require a minimum 
2-inch depth. 

Railing: Railing stanchions require a minimum 3-inch 

There are instances where a limited number of iron 
additions are necessary due to changes in terrain that 
result from a rockfall, where accidents have occurred, 
or there is a safety concern, such as a precipitous drop, 
limited tread width, or insufficient foot or handholds. 
Additions should be accomplished in a manner appro- 
priate to the trail and the area so the visual character of 
the trail will not be affected. 

Rungs: Vertical or horizontal hand and foot rungs 
require a minimum 3-inch depth; 4 inches is suggested. 

2. Hole Diameter 

Bolts: For expansion bolts, follow the manufacturer's 



Cement: For chemical cements, allow at least !4 inch 
larger diameter than metal to be used, and/or follow 
the manufacturer's recommendation. 

Pins: For wedged or crimped pins, hole diameter is the 
same size as the metal to be used. 

rung safely and effectively works. Hikers must be able 
to grasp or stand on the rung. 

Stanchions: Stanchions should range from approxi- 
mately 30 inches high (Beech Cliff Ladder Trail, #106) 
to approximately 36 inches high (Precipice Trail, #11). 

3. Materials 

Ladders: Use 2-inch by 2-inch by !4-inch side-pieces. 
An exception is on the Ladder Trail (#64), which uses 
2-inch by 3 /s-inch flat steel. 

Pins: Default to Ya inch diameter. Exceptions include 
areas where visible pin size and appearance should 
match surrounding work. Use cold-rolled steel where 
visible. Where not visible, stainless steel may be substi- 
tuted for support of rock coping or wall. 

Railings: Use M-inch-diameter cold-rolled steel. 
Exceptions include areas such as the Precipice rails 
where M-inch galvanized pipe is used, and Beech Cliffs 
where ^4-inch-diameter cable is installed. 

Rungs: Use M-inch-diameter cold-rolled steel in all 

Stanchions: Use %-inch cold-rolled steel, except on 
the Beech Cliff Ladder Trail (#106) which uses 2-inch- 
square steel stock. 

4. Protruding Distance 

Pins: Pins should protrude at a distance to match 
surrounding work. New pins should protrude as little 
as possible to perform their supporting function. Pin 
height for pinning stones should not exceed 6 inches 
unless this matches work in surrounding areas. Pin 
height to support wooden railings should be 6 inches 
minimum. Signpost supports require pins to protrude 
12 to 14 inches above the surface. These pins are heated 
and flattened on their top 3 to 6 inches, and drilled to 
accept a Vs-inch bolt for attachment to the signpost. 

Rungs: Rungs should protrude at a distance to match 
surrounding work. This distance must be such that the 

5. Method of Attachment (Figs. 8-38 to 8-41) 

Cements: A hydraulic cement, such as brand name 
Waterplug, is now used successfully for sign pins. 
Further research and/or the test of time is necessary 
to establish the practicality of this method, especially 
for rungs or rails. Installation is in accordance with the 
manufacturer's instructions. Cement should not be 
used where visible. Small indentations or nicks should 
be filed or sawn into pin along the length that will be 
inserted in the hole. This will allow the cement to grip 
the pin. 

Crimping: A pin is bent or crimped slightly, at approx- 
imately one-half the distance it will be inserted in the 
hole base. When inserted, this crimp causes enough 
pressure on the sides of the drilled hole to keep a pin 
in place. Crimping alone is unreliable for rungs and 
rails but may be used for pins. Rungs and rails should 
be installed with the traditional wedge method plus a 
slight crimp. 

Expansion Bolts: Expansion bolts have not been 
used on trails. These may be used for anchoring non- 
historic features such as new ladder supports, hidden 
pins, or sign pins. Installation is in accordance with the 
manufacturer's instructions. Expansion bolts should 
not be used where visible. 

Wedging: Using a hacksaw, a slit is cut YA inches up 
from the base of the rung along its axis. A small metal 
handle wedge is placed in this slit and inserted in the 
drilled hole. The rung is forcefully hammered into 
place. As the rung is hammered, the wedge is driven 
against the bottom of the hole. This forces the wedge 
to spread the base of the pin against the sides of the 
hole, causing friction to hold in the rung or pin. 


Chapter 8: Ironwork 

Lead Wool: Lead wool is a matted gathering of thin 
strands of lead. It is similar in appearance to common 
steel wool. When packed tightly, the strands form an 
effective barrier against the intrusion of water. Small 
pinches of lead wool are wrapped around the inserted 
pin. Using a pin punch, the lead wool is packed into 
the gap between pin and rock. There is a sufficient 
amount when the wool is hard packed to approxi- 
mately Vs inch above the rock surface. The final surface 
should be tamped smooth to form a watertight seal. 
Always use gloves during this operation, as lead is a 
toxic substance. 


1. Careful documentation of location of all ironwork 
is critical. 

2. Inspect all coping stones, retaining walls, steps, 
and overhanging boulders that are supported by 
pins for shifting, rotating, or possibility of falling. 
Make sure rocks are stable and not loose. 

3. Inspect all ironwork for corrosion and replace 
when it appears the work may fail. 

Fig. 8-38 Detail of 
iron attachment using 
chemical adhesive or 
hydraulic cement. 

Fig. 8-39 Detail of 
iron attachment using 
bending or crimping. 

Grooves are cut 
into pin before 

to grip 

auau NH-aaiayga/ateiiptiug 

Pin is bent 
before it is 
hammered in 

at these 
friction to 
hold pin 
to rock 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Stellpflug 

Steel wedge 
is inserted into 
hacksawed slot 

As pin is driven into hole, wedge 
opens pin bottom and outward 
pressure holds pin in rock 

Hole around 
pin is sealed with 
packed lead wool 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Stellpflug 

Fig. 8-40 Detail of iron attachment using wedges. 


Gaps may be filled with 
chemical adhesive or 
hydraulic cement 

As threaded pin is 
turned, sliding sleeves I 
are forced outward 

Pressure holds 
pin in rock. 

ACAD NP-BaUyga/SKIpflug 

Fig. 8-41 Detail of iron attachment using expansion bolts. 



4. Check yearly all rungs and rails. Ensure that the 
work will support body weight without bending. 
Tap with small hammer and listen for a clear ring. 
If a clear ring is not present, this may indicate dete- 
rioration of the iron. Find the cause and correct, 
or replace rungs. 

5. Repack the lead wool as necessary. 


Fig. 9-1 Directional signs, like these CCC signs shown in the 1930s possibly near Gilley Field, have always been major guidance features 
on the trail system at Acadia. 











Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


Guidance encompasses all markers, signs, 
symbols, constructed features, and informa- 
tion provided to direct hikers along the trail 
and to their destination. While a number of con- 
structed features serve a secondary function of making 
the trail visible on the landscape, such as steps and 
stone pavement, this chapter deals only with features 
specifically designed to provide guidance. Six catego- 
ries of guidance features are used at Acadia. 

A. Blazes 

B. Cairns 

C. Directional Signs 

D. Informational Signs 

E. Scree 

F. Wooden Railings and Fences 

G. Trail Names 

For Acadia's trails, guidance features were described as 
early as 1855, though it was not until the 1890s that the 
VIA/VIS developed an island-wide system for mark- 
ing trails. The VIA/VIS Joint Path Committee issued 
standards for the four districts, which were followed 
until the 1930s when the CCC took over responsibility 
for trail signs within the park (Fig. 9-1). Since that time, 
the CCC signs have been continually replaced and 
updated, first during the NPS Mission 66 period and 
again by the NPS Trails Program. 

Remnant Bates-style cairns within the park and signs 
posted on the Northeast Harbor VIS trails outside 
the park retain the characteristics of the VIA/VIS 
era. Short runs of steps constructed to help guide the 
hiker still remain (see Chapter 7, Historical Use). Most 
historical guidance features, however, have long since 
disappeared. Many features were removed as Acadia 
management made incremental style changes to sig- 
nage. As signs deteriorated, they were often replaced 
with a new style. Bates-style cairns were removed 
and/or not maintained by trails crews and hikers alike. 
Blazes have weathered beyond recognition, and van- 
dalism to signs, cairns, and blazes has continued to be a 
problem since the 1890s. 

Loss of signs and change of trail names have created 
confusion over the years. These treatment guidelines 
provide standards for blazing, cairns, signage, and trail 

Fig. 9-2 VIA/VIS pointer on tree indicating trail route, illustrated 
in the 1928 path guide. 

Fig. 9-3 These wooden signs and pointers were early forms of 
trail guidance recommended by Waldron Bates. 

Fig. 9-4 VIA/VIS metal marker, approximately 4 inches square, 
painted red, on the Green and Black Path (#358), origin unknown. 


Chapter 9: Guidance; A. Blazes 



A blaze is a mark used to identify a trail and reassure 
hikers that they are following the route. Blazes may be 
markers nailed onto trees or marks painted onto led- 
gerock and/or trees. At Acadia, the most recent style 
of blazing is the use of blue painted rectangular marks, 
approximately VA by 4 inches in size. 



In the 1880s, Clara B. Martin's guidebooks suggest that 
most hikers simply followed the "beaten" paths. How- 
ever, in 1885 she describes three trails radiating from 
Northeast Harbor, up Sargent Mountain, up Asticou 
Hill, and to Jordan Pond, that were marked with red 
arrows and blazes. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Beginning in the 1890s the Bar Harbor VIA used 
arrows and pointers to mark the trail route. Painted 
blazes were used only on the colored path system on 
Champlain and Gorham Mountains. 

Fig. 9-5 VIA/VIS metal marker, approximately 4 inches square, 
painted half green and half black, on the Green and Black Path 
(#358), origin unknown. 

The paths and trails are marked at their entrances and 
crossings by signs suitably inscribed; by cairns, i.e., piles 
of stones along the open rocks and ledges; by rustic 
arrows and pointers in the woods, or by colors painted 
on trees and rocks as around Newport [Champlain] 
Mountain. 37 

Arrows were straight branches, with tapered ends, 
nailed to trees to indicate trail direction (Figs. 9-2 & 
9-3). Specifications for pointers were described in 1906 
by Waldron Bates, BHVIA path committee chairman 
from 1900 to 1909: 

Cut the pointers from hard-wood trees, maple by pref- 
erence, large, with blunt ends back and front, and with 
the back part forked, and so place them that no part of a 
pointer shall be nearer the ground than 6 ft. 6 in.... 

Before putting up a sign or a pointer, consider the situa- 
tion from all sides. 

Where there is a sharp turn in a path, put up two point- 
ers on the same tree or build three cairns. 

Where paths meet or cross in the woods, put up a 
pointer or a sign for each diverging path, usually all on 
the same tree, and another pointer on each path on 
nearby trees.... 

Where the [BHVIA] Association paths cross or meet 
wood roads or paths not shown on the Path Map, 
define the Association paths very clearly and put up 
extra pointers. 

Blazing the colored path system at Champlain and 
Gorham Mountains was the work of Herbert Jaques, 
BHVIA path committee chairman between 1893 and 
1900. Colored arrows and rings on the trees cor- 
responded to the name of the trail, such as the Black 
Path (currently the Bear Brook Trail, #10). The colored 
paths on Champlain Mountain were also marked with 
small metal blazes fastened to trees (Figs. 9-4 & 9-5). 
It is not known when these were initially used, but 
there are still metal blazes on the abandoned Green 
and Black Path (#358). They are 3 inches square and 
are striped green and black to correspond with the trail 
name. During the historic period, maps mounted on 
trees at trailheads provided a diagram of the colored 
path routes and destinations. 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

No documentation has been found for the use of blaz- 
ing by the CCC. 

NPS/Mission 66 

No documentation has been found for the use of blaz- 
ing during the Mission 66 era. 

National Park Service 

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, most wooded areas 
were marked with 3-inch-square metal blazes, all deep 
reddish orange in color. Ledge areas were marked with 
cairns. Remnants of an earlier marking system of large 
orange painted arrows was still evident in a few areas 
of the park. (It is unknown when these were first intro- 
duced.) There were perhaps a dozen arrows, of varying 
length and size, scattered and extremely faded. For 
example, on the Bear Brook Trail (#10) a large arrow 
pointed east with painted text "to the White Path." 

During the mid-1970s, new orange paint blazes were 
introduced and blazing with metal tags was discontin- 
ued. By the late 1970s, metal blazes were completely 


■ • A v V - 

. -\ - ■ H 

Fig. 9-6 Bird-shaped metal marker on the Ledge Trail (#103). 

removed from the marked trails (except for a few over- 
looked examples). In the mid-1970s, however, some 
trails were marked with bird-shaped metal blazes, 
approximately 4 inches long (Fig. 9-6). These blazes 
were difficult and time consuming to cut, and their use 
was discontinued in 1977, though a few still remain in 
the trail system. Within the Acadia National Park land 
on Schoodic Peninsula, some bird-shaped blazes also 
remain on open trails. 

In the 1970s there were increasing numbers of hikers, 
subsequently increasing the need for trail guidance. 
Since the size of the park trails crew was insufficient to 
maintain a comprehensive system of cairns, standard- 
ized painted blazes were introduced. A few orange 
painted blazes still remained, so orange was chosen as 
the color for new blazes. In 1974 and 1975, 4-inch-long 
orange arrows were applied at various locations in the 
park. These included summits, intersections, and con- 
fusing areas. Application of the stenciled arrows was 
labor intensive, so the VA- by 4-inch rectangular blaze 
was adopted. By the mid-1980s the entire NPS system 

Fig. 9-7 This blue painted blaze on the Ledge Trail (#103) is 
curved to indicate a turn in the trail. Most trail blazes are 


Chapter 9: Guidance; A. Blazes 

on Mount Desert Island was marked with orange rect- 
angular blazes. Cairns were only used on a few trails. 

The orange blazes, however, were considered too 
intrusive by some, so in the early 1990s an AMC study 
group recommended a change in blaze color. Acadia 
trails foreman Don Beal painted a stone with several 
test colors, and a committee chose sky blue as the 
blaze color that was most pleasing to the eye, the least 
intrusive, and was still easily spotted from a distance. 
Throughout the 1990s, the system of orange rectangu- 
lar paint blazes was replaced with blue blazes (Fig. 9-7). 

The 1990s also saw a reintroduction of the square 
metal blazes for a short time. The original metal blazes 
had been nailed to trees, but the new blazes were 
installed in trees by cleaving a slot with an axe and 
inserting the blaze. To date, these blazes are extant on 
quite a few trails, though their maintenance and use 
has been discontinued. 


1. Excessive Blazing 

Issue: Excessive paint blazes have been applied to 
some trails. Additionally, blazing has been used on 
steps, stone paving, rungs, and coping stones. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

Some trails were marked with red arrows and blazes. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Colored paths on Champlain and Gorham Mountains 
were marked with painted arrows, tree rings, and painted 
metal blazes. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

No documentation for the use of blazes has been found. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

No documentation for the use of blazes has been found. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Sporadic remnant orange arrow blazes, then rectangular 
paint blazes were used throughout the system. The use of 
metal blazes was discontinued, reinstated, then discontin- 
ued again. Eventually, blue paint blazes became standard 
for all trails. 

3. Natural Resource Protection 

Issue: Some hikers are troubled with the aesthetics 
of blazes, the visual intrusion of unnatural markers 
into the landscape, and the introduction of chemicals 
(paint) into the environment. 

Treatment Guidelines: Paint should be applied 
according to the specifications outlined in this docu- 
ment. Paint should never be used on trail sections with 
steps, stone paving, rungs, coping stones, or otherwise 
clearly delineated tread, particularly on the memorial 
and endowed VIA/VIS trails. In such sections, blazing 
is not needed and detracts from trail character. 

2. Metal Blazes 

Issue: Metal blazes nailed to trees may be hazardous to 
hikers and potentially damaging to trees. Metal blazes 
in the shape of birds are difficult to produce. 

Treatment Guidelines:The practice of using metal 
blazes, including bird-shaped tags, should not be 

Treatment Guidelines: Due to the large number of 
hikers at Acadia, the average hiker's skill level, and 
the challenge of some trails, the trails need to be 
clearly marked. Cairns are often difficult to main- 
tain, especially in wooded areas. Many hikers also 
object to the aesthetic appearance and the resultant 
resource damage of cairn building. Blazes have historic 
precedent at the park, can be relatively unobtrusive 
if used sparingly, and are considered an acceptable 
and appropriate method for marking trail routes at 
Acadia. Chemical intrusion in the environment can 
be minimized through careful training of trail blazers 
and following recommended application techniques 
developed in consultation with natural resource staff. 



4. Colored Path System 

Issue: Reinstating the historical use of various colored 
blazes for the colored path system on Champlain and 
Gorham Mountains, devised by Herbert Jaques in the 
1890s, is inconsistent with the current system-wide 
approach of uniform blue blazes. 

Treatment Guidelines: Due to the high volume of 
use of trails across the island, consistency and clear 
guidance are essential. Thus, one system and standard 
of blazing is recommended. However, as stated above, 
blazes should be used with restraint. The history of the 
colored path system should be interpreted through 
trail naming and signage (information is provided later 
in this chapter). 

5. Ineffective Blazes 

Issue: Blazes are often difficult to see, or are covered 
with snow. Their function is not apparent to some new 

Treatment Guidelines: In wooded areas, blazes 
should be placed on trees. On ledges, blazes should be 
supplemented with cairns. Information on trail blazing 
at Acadia should be provided to hikers at trailhead 
signs and on park maps. 


Following are general specifications for the location 
and installation of paint blazes at Acadia. For further 
information on blazing in general, it is strongly recom- 
mended that trail workers read through, understand, 
and follow the guidelines established in The AMC 
Complete Guide to Trail Building and Trail Maintenance, 
1998, pages 77-85. It provides an excellent summary of 

1. Paint Color 

A uniform sky blue color should be used within park 
boundaries. The paint currently used is Interlux 
Brightside Polyurethane, Medium Blue #4353. This 
paint, or a comparable mixture, should continue to be 
used for blazing. 

2. General Location 

As a general rule, trail sections with historic construc- 
tion features that adequately mark the route, such 
as steps, stairs, stone paving, or rungs, should not be 
blazed (Fig. 9-8). There are some exceptions to this 
rule. In certain areas, such as the tumbledown on The 
Precipice, constructed tread is almost indistinguishable 
from the surrounding area, and this presents many 
options for hikers to stray from the trail. Areas such as 
these should be paint blazed, using extreme care not 
to over-blaze. In other instances, constructed tread is 
in such a state of disrepair so as to make it difficult to 
follow the correct path. These areas, too, can be care- 
fully blazed until rehabilitation efforts more correctly 
define the corridor. All trails with unconstructed tread 
should be blazed to direct and reassure hikers, and to 
uniformly mark the trail system. 

The character of the trail is a deciding factor in deter- 
mining blaze frequency. In general, the frequency 
of blazes increases in area where the tread is hard to 
discern or follow. This would include sections cross- 

Fig. 9-8 This paint blaze located adjacent to a stone staircase 
on the Perpendicular Trail (#119) is unnecessary since steps and 
coping stones clearly delineate the trail route. 


Chapter 9: Guidance; B. Cairns 

ing old wood roads, social trails, sharp turns, and 
areas where natural conditions create false trails. Care 
should be taken to avoid excessive blazing. 

The best rule of thumb is that a hiker should never 
walk out of sight of a blaze either behind or ahead. 
Depending on the terrain, this could be as far as a few 
hundred feet to as little as 20 feet. From TheAMC 
Complete Guide to Trail Building and Trail Maintenance, 
1998: "Do not fail to mark a trail because you think no 
one could possibly get lost in that area.... Trail mark- 
ing is for the benefit of one who is unfamiliar with the 
trail. ..hikers, many with little experience. ..will rely on 
your blazes." 



A cairn is a stone or a stone structure used as a trail 
marker. Cairns are used extensively on trails crossing 
the mountain summits, where the exposed ledgerock 
often leaves no location for sign placement, and 
painted blazes are easily missed or obscured. Addition- 
ally, cairns are especially important in locations such as 
summits where fog or snow can interfere with a hiker's 
ability to follow a trail; cairns are often easier to locate 
than blazes. 

3. Application 

Blazes should be applied in one direction at a time. 
Finish a trail in one direction, then mark the trail in 
the other direction. This ensures the best placement of 

Use a wire brush to prepare stone surfaces and trees. 
Trees shall be wirebrushed, wiped with a dry rag (espe- 
cially white birch), or scraped. Do not scrape through 
the bark on any tree. 

Blazes shall be rectangular marks 1 to 2 inches wide 
by 4 inches long. The length should run parallel to the 
treadway. No other types of marks should be used. 

Apply the paint with a small brush 1 to 2 inches wide. 

Piled cairns are a historic Acadia style of cairns that 
consist of randomly constructed stone piles used to 
mark the trail. 

Bates-style cairns are a historic Acadia style of cairn 
dating from Waldron Bates's chairmanship of the Bar 
Harbor VIA. They are constructed of two base stones 
set apart with a lintel across them, creating an opening 
in the direction of the trail, and topped by a pointer 
stone (Figs. 9-13 & 9-23) . Some Bates-style cairns 
consist of two or more tiers constructed in this manner 
(Fig. 9-9). 

Stacked cairns are a historic Acadia style of cairn con- 
sisting of stacked stones of diminishing size, from larg- 
est on bottom to smallest on top (Figs. 9-10 & 9-18). 


1. Paint blazes should be inspected yearly and/or 
when hikers complain about trail legibility. 

2. Whenever blazes have faded or deteriorated to 
the point of being difficult to identify, the entire 
trail should be reblazed. "Spot" blazing should 
be avoided, as this would present a non-uniform 
marking system on any given trail. 

3. Vegetation that is obscuring blazes should be 
trimmed, or the blaze completely removed and 
relocated, if possible. 

Fig. 9-9 Bates-style cairn at the summit of Eliot Mountain, on the 
Asticou Ridge Trail (#520). 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

Conical cairns consist of tiers of circular, battered (in- 
sloped) walls that form a "cone" (Fig. 9-24) This type 
of cairn is the most substantial and solid of the cairn 
types, and is the standard used by the AMC. However, 
there is no evidence of its early historical use at Acadia. 
Use of conical cairns likely began in the 1970s and 
continued through the 1990s. 

Upright single stones are large individual stones or 
boulders standing on end and acting as cairns (Fig. 9- 
12). They were used historically at Acadia. 



The first description of a stone trail marker dates to 
1855 when Charles Tracy noted a "sat up" boulder (an 
upright single stone) and pile of stones on the sum- 
mit of Sargent Mountain (Figs. 9-11 & 9-12). Benjamin 
F. DeCosta's 1871 guidebook indicates that the Bear 
Brook Trail (#10) (originally called the Path up New- 
port Mountain) was marked with piles of stones. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Beginning in 1890 the Bar Harbor VIA marked trails 
with signs, arrows, pointers, cairns, maps, and regula- 
tory signs. Cairns were used along the open ledgerock. 
Specifications for cairns were described in 1906 by 
Waldron Bates, Bar Harbor VIA path committee chair- 
man from 1900 to 1909 (Figs. 9-13 & 9-23). 

Build the cairns as shown in the accompanying diagram 
pictures: two large stones with an opening between in 
line with the direction of the path, across one flat stone, 
and on top of this one long stone in line with the direc- 
tion of the path. Use large stones and set them firmly in 

Where there is a sharp turn in a path, put up two point- 
ers on the same tree or build three cairns.... 

Where paths meet or cross on ledges, build a large 
pile of stones at the intersection and place a cairn on 
each diverging path about ten feet from the pile of 



Cairns were used extensively on some ledge trails; 
however, construction varied. Many cairns con- 
structed under Bates are still extant. On the mountain 
summits, piles of stones, first described in 1855, have 
continued to grow to large mounds (Figs. 9-15 to 9-22). 

Fig. 9-10 Stacked cairn on the Ledge Trail (#103) with a large 
boulder used as the base. 

Fig. 9-11 This 1907 view, possibly located near Jordan Bluffs, 
shows two early cairn styles. The large upright stone may be the 
first style of cairn to mark recreational walking routes. In 1855, 
Charles Tracy described a "sat-up" boulder on the summit of 
Sargent. The smaller Bates-style cairn represents an early VIA/VIS 
style of cairn building. 


Chapter 9: Guidance; B. Cairns 

Fig. 9-12 A "sat-up" or upright stone marking the trail across 
exposed ledge rock on the Dorr Mountain East Face Trail (Emery 
Path/Schiff Path, #15). 



Fig. 9-13 Cairn included in Waldron Bates 1906 General Instruc- 
tions for Work on Paths in the 1906 Bar Harbor VIA Annual 


Fig. 9-15 Early images of trail markers and cairns illustrated in 
the 1915 path guide. 

Fig. 9-16 Large cairn on the Potholes Path (#342) photographed 
in 1995. 

Fig. 9-14 Stone cairn with large upright stone on the Seaside 
Path, circa 1910. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 9-17 A 1906 photo of a small Bates-style cairn, exact location 
unknown, but most likely near Seal Harbor. 

Fig. 9-18 VIA/VIS stacked cairn on the Van Santvoord Trail (#450). 

Fig. 9-20 Bates-style cairn on the Van Santvoord Trail (#450). 

Fig. 9-21 Bates-style cairn on the Potholes to Eagles Crag Trail 

Fig. 9-19 This Bates-style cairn on the Sargent Mountain South 
Ridge Trail (#52) in 1999 may have survived in this open location 
because of its extra large lintel stone. 

Fig. 9-22 A large pile of stones marking the summit of Dorr 


Chapter 9: Guidance; B. Cairns 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

No documentation has been found relating to cairn 
use by the CCC. 

NPS/Mission 66 

No documentation has been found relating to cairn 
use by the NPS during the Mission 66 era. 

National Park Service 

Although initially the NPS repaired and installed cairns 
on mountain ridges, ledges, and in some wooded areas, 
over the years cairn use was altered. Many historical 
cairns were dismantled on abandoned trails to dis- 
courage hikers from using those routes. The Bates- 
style cairn was considered too vulnerable to vandalism, 
leading the trails crew to discontinue its use in the 
1970s, when they began building conical cairns. By 
the early 1980s, disheartened by the speed with which 
cairns were being vandalized, Gary Stellpflug discon- 
tinued cairn building altogether in favor of blazes. 
Blazing became the primary mode of marking ledge 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

Two types of cairns were used: piles of stones and upright 
single stones. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Four types of cairns were used: Bates-style cairns, stacked 
cairns, piled cairns (typically on summits), and upright 
single stones. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

No documentation has been found for the style of cairns 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

No documentation has been found for the style of cairns 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Paint blazing was introduced to mark ledge areas. Conical 
cairns were introduced and used to replace Bates-style 
cairns. Many Bates-style cairns were dismantled on aban- 
doned trails. Bates-style cairns were reintroduced in 2002. 

trails. In the early 1990s, the trails crew began using 
the conical cairn and it became the standard type of 
cairn used in the park. Beginning in 2000, in response 
to rapid degradation of summit ecosystems by wan- 
dering hikers, a substantial program of cairn building 
that focused on mountain ridges was begun by Acadia 
Resource Management. The Acadia Ridge Runners 
began constructing new cairns to direct traffic over 
sensitive summit areas. In 2002 the Ridge Runners 
began building new Bates-style cairns. At the time of 
this document, the overall success of the program, as 
well as the relative success of the two cairn types, has 
not been determined. 


1. Bates-Style Cairns versus Conical Cairns 

Issue: Historically, the Bates-style cairn was the most 
widely used kind of trail marker, at least on trails on 
the eastern side of Mount Desert Island. These cairns 
are also the easiest to build, provided an adequate 
number of suitably sized and shaped stones can be 
found (see "Specifications for Cairns"). However, 
there is a concern that Bates-style cairns may be more 
easily knocked over than conical cairns and they may 
be more likely to encourage "copycat" cairns (see 
below) due to their ease of construction and pleasing 

Treatment Guidelines: The park is currently in an 
experimental phase to determine whether Bates-style 
or conical cairns are preferred for use on the trail 
system, given the construction difficulties, ease of 
visibility, and life span of each cairn style. Currently, 
the preferred treatment recommends constructing 
Bates-style cairns on the eastern side of the island if 
they can be shown to meet these criteria reasonably 
well. However, if conical cairns are shown to be much 
more durable, encourage less copycatting, and/or are 
substantially easier to construct, they may be used 
instead of Bates-style cairns. 



2. Vandalism and Copycatting 

Issue: Cairns of any type are consistently toppled, 
and nearly every summit in Acadia has a number of 
copycat cairns built both on and off-trail. The building 
of copycat cairns not only misleads hikers, it disturbs 
the character of trails and endangers local habitats 
since stones for these cairns are often pulled from soil 
pockets, destabilizing the plant life and subjecting the 
soil to erosion. 

Treatment Guidelines: Cairns will be built and main- 
tained by park staff as needed. Resource management 
will continue, and increase if possible, efforts to edu- 
cate visitors concerning vandalism and copycatting. 
Such education efforts might include model cairns, 
information in park publications and on maps, signs, 
and direct education on the trails by park staff. 

3. Documentation 

Issue: The historic cairns still extant in the park are not 
adequately documented. 

Treatment Guidelines: Every effort should be made 
to identify and preserve historic cairns that are extant 
on both open and abandoned trails. The age of the 
cairn can be approximated by examining the lichen 
growth on the outer surfaces and comparing it to the 
concealed surfaces on which the stones are stacked. 
In general, the lesser the amount of lichen inside the 
cairn, relative to that outside the cairn, the older it is. 
When identified, historic cairns should be documented 
with black-and-white photographs. 


Cairn spacing will vary depending on visibility and the 
number of turns a trail makes, but a general guideline 
is that cairns should be spaced 50 to 100 feet apart. 
Hikers should always have in sight at least the cairn 
in front and the cairn behind the one at which thy 
are standing. Cairns should not be built in locations 
where they will intrude on the landscape, such as on a 
ridge where they will be silhouetted against the sky to 
ascending hikers. 

Stones for cairns may be gathered or quarried from the 
surrounding area, following the guidelines set forth 
in Acadia's Hiking Trails Management Plan. 40 When 
gathering material, best management practices should 
be followed to avoid resource damage. According to 
Demrow and Salisbury, trail workers should "Take 
care to avoid damaging areas with fragile soils and 
vegetation while you are quarrying rock. Find a rock 
pile near the site that you can reach without trampling 
plants (i.e. walk on rocks). Carry the rock to the cairn 
site, or use a rock basket or a skyline. move large 
quantities of rock." 41 

1. Bates-Style Cairn (Fig. 9-23) 

Four stones are needed: two base stones, a lintel, and a 
pointing stone. The sizes of historic cairns vary greatly, 
but following are the ideal dimensions for a cairn built 
in a place where it needs to be seen from a distance and 
may be subjected to toppling. Smaller versions may be 
appropriate for trails with little use or woodland trails. 
Base stones should be rectilinear stones averaging 16 
inches to 2 feet long, 10 inches high, and 10 inches 
wide. The lintel stone should be an elongated plate and 
need not be rectilinear. Ideally it should be between 2 
and 3 feet long and at least 1 foot across. The pointer 
should be an elongated stone no longer than the width 
of the lintel on which it is to be placed. It may be 

The base stones are set in the ground or on ledge with 
their length in the direction of the trail. They should 
be gapped so that the lintel stone will just reach their 
outside edges when it is laid across them lengthwise. 
If the stones wobble, or if the ground is sloped, solid 
shims may be used, if they are locked in (see Chapter 
7), or a stone base built under them. 

Some cairns have two stones stacked on top of each 
other acting as a single base stone. This is seen only 
occasionally in historic cairns, and the technique 
should be used sparingly. If two stones are to be used 
as a single base stone, both should be sufficiently wide 
and flat so that the top stone fits solidly on the lower 
stone without shimming. 


Chapter 9: Guidance; B. Cairns 

The lintel is laid across the base stones with its length 
perpendicular to the trail. If possible, base stones 
should be adjusted so that the lintel is solid, but shims 
may be used under the lintel if necessary. 

The pointer stone is set on top of the lintel so that it 
points in the direction of the trail. No shims should be 
used to secure this stone, as it is not of sufficient weight 
to keep them in place. 

The height of the finished cairn should be at least 16 

2. Conical Cairn (Fig. 9-24) 

Conical cairns should be built in layers. The base layer 
should be built of large, flat stones; for subsequent lay- 
ers, flat stones should be arranged to slope toward the 
center of the cairn. Each stone should have three con- 
tact points for stability. Stones should span joints in 
previous layers, as in the construction of stone retain- 
ing walls. Small stones should not be used as wedges or 
stabilizers between layers; these will eventually loosen, 
resulting in an unstable cairn. A stable and strong cairn 
relies on good contact between adjoining stones. 42 

1' min. 


1. Toppled or fallen cairns should be rebuilt. If pos- 
sible, the original stones should be located and 
reused to avoid disturbing more of the area. 

2. Copycat cairns and other stone structures should 
be dismantled, and the stones scattered or used in 
needed cairns. 

3. If cairns are constantly toppled in a given area, 
a new guidance solution, such as paint blazes, 
should be considered. 

4. In areas where it is evident that hikers are wander- 
ing, new cairns should be considered, or other 
guidance features added, such as coping stones. 

Joints are 


Plan view of a 
well-constructed cairn 

ACAD NP-Baklyga 

Fig. 9-24 Detail of a conical cairn. 

Base stones 
is typical 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/Barter 
Fig. 9-23 Detail of a Bates-style cairn. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 



this flat face includes trail and destination names and 
directional arrows (Fig. 9-35, also 9-42 & 9-43). Gary 
Stellpflug developed this style of signage for Acadia in 

Directional signs contain information to direct hik- 
ers. These signs are usually located at trail heads, road 
crossings, trail intersections, summits, and points of 

Trailhead or log signs are signs crafted from a single 
log which has had a flat face cut on one or both sides 
for the top portion of the log. Information routed into 

■ k £ 

Jjgj* . V 




%£ ' fi§^ 

'?m j0tm- k 

Fig. 9-25 On this signpost at the summit of Sargent Mountain, 
the sign in the center is the oldest of the three and directs 
walkers to "Somes Sound." The upper and lower signs were 
likely installed under the direction of Waldron Bates, who 
recommended "burned-in" lettering. Both the Giant Slide Trail 
and Chasm Brook Trail were laid out by Bates in 1903, thus the 
signs were relatively new in this 1907 photograph. Note the 
point on one end and the slight taper on the "cut-off" end. 

Flat signs are planed wood pieces containing lim- 
ited information, such as a trail or summit name. The 
lettering is usually routed or chiseled into the wood. 
Flat signs may be pointer signs, which are cut to a 
point on one end, indicating the direction of the sign's 
named location. Flat signs may also be rectangular 
signs, which are cut square on each end and indicate 
the location where the sign is placed, such as a sum- 
mit, spring, or the trail the hiker is on. Flat signs are 
mounted, usually in groups, on posts (Figs. 9-33 & 
9-34, also Figs. 9-40 & 9-41). Posts may be milled 
square posts, milled round posts, or natural logs. Some 
original VIA/VIS signs were mounted on trees, but this 
practice is no longer used at Acadia. 



There is no documentation for sign use on the Mount 
Desert Island trails prior to the VIA/VIS period. 

Fig. 9-26 Signs shown in the 1928 path guide built in the 
Waldron Bates style. 

Fig. 9-27 This 1906 image shows several early VIA/VIS signs near 
Seal Harbor. The individual signs were mounted on a tree at a 
height of approximately 6 feet. 


Chapter 9: Guidance; C. Directional Signs 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Beginning in 1890 the Bar Harbor VIA marked trails 
with signs, arrows, pointers, cairns, maps, and regula- 
tory signs. The group marked "paths and trails... at 
their entrances and crossings by signs suitably 
inscribed." 43 Specifications were described in 1906 by 
Waldron Bates (Figs. 9-25 to 9-27, also Fig. 9-3): 

Make the signs with both ends pointed and with the 
lettering burned in. When the position of a sign is deter- 
mined, cut off one end so that the other end shall point 
in the desired direction. 

Before putting up a sign or a pointer, consider the 
situation from all sides. 

Where paths meet or cross in the woods, put up a 
pointer or a sign for each diverging path, usually all on 
the same tree, and another pointer on each path on 
nearby trees. 

Where the [BHVIA] Association paths cross or meet 
wood roads or paths not shown on the Path Map, 
define the Association paths very clearly and put up 
extra pointer.... 

See that the waterproofed and varnished Path Maps 
mounted on cloth, placed at a few important points on 
the paths, are renewed from year to year. Place signs, at 
a few important points on the paths worded as follows: 
B. H. V. I. A. The land-owner has a right to close this 
path. Do not injure trees or shrubs. 44 

On the colored path system maps were mounted 
on trees at trailheads and provided a diagram of 
the colored path routes and destinations. In 1900, 
cross-island uniformity of trail marking standards 
was achieved by the Joint Path Committee of the Bar 
Harbor VIA, Seal Harbor VIS, and Northeast Harbor 
VIS. The committee was expanding in 1914 to include 
Southwest Harbor VIA. Resolutions adopted in 1914 

• The use of standardized signs — wooden varnished 
signs with letters cut in and painted red, referred 
to as "Bates" signs — at most locations (excepting 

• The placement of steel signs on summit and 
ridge trails to eliminate the need for their annual 
replacement (Fig. 9-28). 

• A numbering system for trails to be marked on 
trail signs, maps, and guides. 

Fig. 9-28 This steel post with signs, shown here in 1965, was 
located on the Sargent Mountain North Ridge Trail (#53) and 
dated to the VIA/VIS period. The signs read: Aunt Bettys Pond, 
Chasm Brook, Sargent Mt., and Giant Slide. They were removed 
circa 1970, but the spot where the angle iron support was 
cemented into the rock is still visible. 

Fig. 9-29 One of the last remaining early VIA/VIS signs pictured 
in 1961 with lower-case letters at the top of post. Later VIA/VIS 
signs with upper-case letters on lower post located on the Jordan 
Cliffs Trail (#48). 



f HomcAsnmcR 



Fig. 9-30 CCC-style carriage road trail markers in the NPS sign 

Fig. 9-31 A 1958 photo of a 1930s CCC trail sign at Lookout 
Point on the Mansell Mountain Trail (#115). The sign is nailed to 
a notched post that was stained brown and cut with a conical 
top. The sign had tapered ends and was also stained brown with 
chiseled letters painted yellow. 

Fig. 9-32 Two different styles of CCC signs are shown in this 
1958 photograph. The sign on the left was stained brown with 
yellow painted letters. The sign in the center was left natural, 
weathered wood with painted letters. Although different colors, 
these signs all contained one pointed and one beveled end, and 
were mounted on round posts with conical tops, though blunter 
than those in the Bar Harbor district. 

Fig. 9-33 This CCC sign, photographed in 1964, was one of the 
last remaining CCC signs. It was located at the intersection of 
the Green and White Path (#327) with the Black Path (Gorham 
Mountain Trail, #4) on Champlain Mountain near the outlet of 
The Bowl. The signs read from top to bottom: Black Path to 
Champlain Mountain; Otter Creek Road at Canon Brook Path 
(pointing to the Green and Black Path, #358, which forked off a 
little up the ridge); Ocean Drive; Beehive Mt.; Otter Creek Road 
at Canon Brook Path (may have been reattached and not an 
original sign on this post). CCC-type signs such as this were used 
in the Bar Harbor district, and were slightly different than signs 
on the west side of the island. Bar Harbor district posts were 
taller, had pointed tops, and could accommodate more signs. The 
use of a second line in smaller letters only occurred in the Bar 
Harbor area. This type of sign became extremely rare, as most 
burned during the 1947 fire. Note the very pointed conical post 


« • A- 

■•-.> ! f 




Fig. 9-34 NPS signpost on the South Bubble Trail (#43), in the 
saddle between the North and South Bubble Trails. 


Chapter 9: Guidance; C. Directional Signs 

Fig. 9-35 Trailhead sign on the Kane Path/Tarn Trail (#17) marking 
the way to Sieur de Monts Spring. 

Fig. 9-37 Within the park, near Northeast Harbor, are signs made 
by the current Northeast Harbor VIS that retain the VIA/VIS style 
(pointed on one end, tapered on the other, chiseled letters) but 
are slightly more crafted (edges are slightly beveled, thus not 
"cut off" in the field. These signs are on the Norumbega Lower 
Hadlock to Goat Trail (#69). 

Fig. 9-38 Detail 
of sign in the 
current Northeast 
Harbor VIS district 
with square post, 
pointed at the top, 
located near the 
entrance to the 
Asticou Brook Trail, 
or "Path," near the 
Asticou Gardens 

Fig. 9-36 Within the former Bar Harbor VIA district are 
contemporary signs of unknown origin (i.e., by a phantom), 
located within the park on unmarked trails. These signs mimic 
the VIA/VIS style (pointed on one end, tapered on the other) 
but with alterations (beveled edge, routed rather than chiseled 
letters.) The center sign "To CANYON BROOK TRAIL" was 
installed in about 1997. 

Fig. 9-39 Signpost 
on the Little 
Harbor Brook Trail 
(#55) at the Route 
3 trailhead. The 
sign is stained gray 
with red painted 
letters, in the 
Northeast Harbor 
VIS style. 



Acadia superintendent George Dorr changed the 
names of many of the mountain peaks in about 1918. 
This in turn required name changes for many of the 
trails and required the replacement of many signs. 
Local resistance to name changes, particularly by the 
Northeast Harbor VIS, resulted in a mix of signs with 
old and new names, a situation that still persists in a 
few locations. 

During the early period of park ownership, the 
VIA/VIS path committees continued to maintain all 
markings. When the park began producing signs in the 
1930s through the CCC, the path committees contin- 
ued to maintain trail signs outside the park and also 
within the park in their respective districts, but with 
less uniformity than had been done previously (Fig. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

A 1935 NPS Master Plan for the trail system, coupled 
with CCC manpower, resulted in an overhaul of trail 
signage within the park. CCC records indicated that 
new signs were needed in conjunction with recent 
trail construction, as replacements for signs in bad 
repair, or where makeshift shingle signs had been 
used. Approximately 700 trail signs were installed on 
the eastern half of the island and 80 on the western 
half of the island. Where adaptable to the site, signs 
on tall posts were used. Where views of the surround- 
ing landscape were important, a waist-high signpost 
was used. Signs were mounted on notched posts with 
cut, conical tops (Figs. 9-30 to 9-33, also Fig. 9-1). 
Two color schemes were used: (1) stained brown signs 
and posts with chiseled, yellow-paint letters, and (2) 
natural weathered signs and posts with chiseled, red- 
paint letters. (Further research is needed to determine 
whether brown and yellow signs adhered to nation- 
wide CCC specifications, and if natural and red signs 
were intended to harmonize with the existing VIA/VIS 

NPS/Mission 66 

CCC signs persisted into the 1950s, but by 1959 NPS/ 
Mission 66 crews removed all extant signs and 
installed approximately 400 signs, probably similar in 

style to the flat signs currently used at Acadia. How- 
ever, signs no longer indicated trail names, but instead 
described destinations and distances. For example, 
rather than "Giant Slide Trail" and "Sargent Moun- 
tain Trail," the signs read "Sargent Mountain, 2.0." 
Without individual trail names on the new signs, it 
was often difficult to know which trail one was fol- 
lowing. On trails that were to be abandoned, signs 
were removed and not replaced. This sign change was 
coincident with a renaming of the trails in which many 
historic names were changed. 

Sign is 
48" high 
from ground 
to top of 

(higher if 
need be) 

Cone is 4" high 

Post is notched 
for signs 


Sign angled 
to point exactly 
in direction of 

Signs bolted 

to post — 

bolt between 



used if sign 

cannot be 

buried 30" 

(or pinned 

to ledge) 

Deadman is notched 
together and post is 
notched for deadman 

ACAD NP-Baldyga/BaiKx 

Fig. 9-40 Detail of a typical signpost for flat signs. 


Chapter 9: Guidance; C. Directional Signs 

National Park Service 

In the 1970s Acadia trails foreman Gary Stellpflug 
altered sign specifications to reduce vandalism and use 
local materials. Signs were bolted rather than nailed 
to posts. Cedar was introduced along with redwood. 
Distances were given in both miles and kilometers. 
Stellpflug continued to use the size, shape, and font 
style of the earlier flat signs, a style that may have been 
developed during the Mission 66 era (Fig. 9-34, also 
Figs. 9-40 & 9-41). 

In 1980, Stellpflug introduced the log sign as an 
alternative to the easily vandalized or stolen flat signs, 
mainly at trailheads along motor roads. The original 
design was routed letters on the face of a 4-inch-round 
by 8-foot-long post. One such sign was installed at 
the southern Gorham Mountain Trail (#4) trailhead. 
Within a year, Stellpflug developed the current log sign 
design, which became the standard sign for entrances 
to the trail system and trail crossings with motor roads 
or carriage roads (Fig. 9-35, also Figs. 9-42 & 9-43). 

Distance given in 
miles and kilometers 
towards point of sign 

90" angle 

■ All 1" letters 

- Space is 1/4" min. between words 

- Space is 1/4" between lines 

• Text may be 1 .2 or 3 lines and 
is centered vertically 

- Space varies between text 
and distances 





ACAD NP-Baidyga 

Approximately 2-5^ 
from perpendicular 

Angled out 
15 u of horizontal 


Fig. 9-41 Detail of lettering layout for flat signs. 

Fig. 9-42 Detail of log signs. 
















I D 

.5MI/.8KM J 

A -*" 






■ All 1" letters 

• Space is 1/4" min 
between words, 
names, distances, 
arrows in groups 

■ 1" between each 


No longer than 4", 
though shorter if need be 

ACAD NP-BaWygaBarter 

Fig. 9-43 Detail of lettering for log signs. 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

Some log signs were also placed off-road at intersec- 
tions and summits where flat signs were commonly 
vandalized or stolen, such as the Beehive Trail (#7) or 
the summit of Dorr Mountain). 

In the 1990s, foreman Don Beal began installing log 
signs at any intersection at which maps showed a trail 
with a different name beginning or ending. Each trail 
terminus was given its own log sign, so that many inter- 
sections had two or even three log signs. An example 
is the intersection of the Bear Brook Trail (#10), Bowl 
Trail (#6), and Beehive Trail (#7). This intersection 
at The Bowl currently has three log signs. Adequate 
records were not kept of the sign exchanges, but possi- 
bly hundreds of flat signs were removed and discarded 
during this time. 

Throughout the years, some characteristics of VIA/VIS 
signage have persisted. As of 2002, VIA/VIS-style signs 
are used by the Seal Harbor VIS (tapered ends, painted 
letters), Northeast Harbor VIS (tapered ends, chiseled 
letters, similar dimensions, and in some locations red- 
painted letters), and a phantom signmaker in the Bar 
Harbor VIA district (tapered ends) (Figs. 9-36 to 9-39). 


The chart below identifies characteristics of flat signs 
for the different periods. 




Mission 66 



Natural post, some with 
coned tops, some with 
square tops, trees occa- 
sionally used 

Natural, smooth posts with 
coned tops, notched for each 

probably simi- 
lar to current 
NPS flat signs. 

4" x 4"cedar or pressure- 
treated posts, notched 
only for non-right-angle 

Sign Size 

Length and width varied 
with wording 

Length varied with wording, 6" 
standard width 

18" length, 3%" and 5 W 
standard width 

Sign Surface 

Probably varnished or 


Mostly natural, some 

Sign Beveling 

Face probably beveled, 
some butt-ends beveled 

Face beveled butt-ends beveled 

No beveling 


Chiseled or cut, basic 
font, capital and lower- 
case letters, one groove, 
painted red and yellow 

Chiseled or cut, rectilinear font, 
all capital letters with initial 
large letter, double groove, 
painted yellow and possibly red 

Routed, basic font, all 
same size capital letters, 
single groove, most 


Destinations, current 
trail name, adjacent trail 

Destinations, current trail 
name, adjacent trail names 

Destinations, trailheads, 
current trail name 


Chapter 9: Guidance; C. Directional Signs 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issues: The flat signs currently used at Acadia are 
unlike those used in either of the two historical peri- 
ods, VIA/VIS and CCC. The adoption of historically 
accurate signage from the VIA/VIS or CCC period 
raises several issues, including: 

• The more attractive signs of both historic periods 
may invite vandalism. 

• Historic letters were cut or chiseled; currently, let- 
ters are routed. Chiseled or cut letters take longer 
to make and require more skill. Routed letters are 
more uniform in appearance and allow less varia- 
tion between different signmakers. Router bits are 
available that can approximate the look of chiseled 
or cut letters. Hand-cutting the double-bordered 
letters of the CCC style would be labor-intensive. 

• Historically, letters were painted and sign faces 
stained or painted; currently, letters are not 
painted, and sign faces are not treated. Paint in the 
grooves and stain or paint on the face tends to dis- 
integrate faster than the sign and create a ragged 
appearance or require the added work of regularly 
repainting signs. 

• Historic signs used either capital/lowercase letters, 
or all capitals with larger initial capitals; currently, 
lettering is all capitals of a single size. Laying out 
signs is easier if all the letters are uniform. 

• Historic signs were usually beveled on the butt end 
and on the sign face; currently, signs are cut square 
on the butt ends and the faces are not beveled. 

• Historic signs used rounded posts, usually coned 
at the top; current posts are 4-inch by 4-inch 
milled timbers. 

at least one major intersection on a popular route 
should be marked with signs reconstructed in the 
appropriate style of each period. 

Signs currently used by the VIA/VIS groups on trails 
outside the park are still being crafted in pre-Mission 
66 styles. The park has no jurisdiction over signs 
installed outside the park; however, this practice will 
be encouraged by park management, as it continues a 
tradition, and also provides a distinction between trail 
intersections inside and outside the park. 

2. Log Signs to Deter Vandalism 

Issue: Certain sign types and signs in certain locations 
are often vandalized or stolen. Log signs, although not 
historic, are not easily vandalized and cannot be easily 
stolen. For this reason, log signs are currently used at 
all trailheads and trail crossings located at roads, at 
many summits, and at many interior trail intersections. 
This increased use of log signs has led to the removal 
by NPS of many flat signs, even in locations where log 
signs may not be needed like remote trail intersections. 
A consistent policy is needed for the use of log signs at 

Treatment Guidelines: In agreement with the Hiking 
Trails Management Plan, it is recommended that log 
signs be installed in places where vandalism requires 
the constant replacement of flat signs, at trailheads, 
and at carriage road crossings. However, flat signs will 
be returned to all interior trail intersections, mountain 
summits, and other locations where vandalism does 
not pose a threat. 45 

Treatment Guidelines: The current flat sign style is 
compatible with the two historic periods yet it is distin- 
guishable as a modern addition to the trail system. This 
style should continue to be used with one alteration: 
pointed router bits will be used to approximate chis- 
eled or cut letters. A maintenance schedule should be 
developed to replace square posts with round, coned 
posts in the historic style. For interpretive purposes, in 
order to represent the VIA/VIS- and CCC-style signs, 


See Figures 9-40 to 9-43 for sign specifications. 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 




All signs should be inspected yearly for needed 
maintenance or replacement. 
Broken or stolen flat signs will be replaced; inter- 
sections where frequent vandalism occurs may be 
signed with log signs. 

Signs and posts should be replaced when they 
become illegible or deteriorate to the point where 
they are no longer aesthetically pleasing. 


Informational signs convey information about trail 
routes, conditions, and safety and educate trail users 
about cultural and natural history, resource protection, 
and associated rules and regulations. Informational 
signs may include text, illustrations, maps, and regula- 
tory symbols. The island's trail system, both within and 
outside of the park, currently contains a spectrum of 
informational signage. 

»V ; ,j» K 

foflreffi ^ 


WS$JM . :3*llPI 

I >* HH 




' '.»?*>* 



i " r MfflnBll 


Fig. 9-44 A trailhead exhibit at the Cadillac Mountain North 
Ridge Trail (#34) located on the summit of Cadillac Mountain. 

In this report, informational signs are distinguished 
from signs used for guidance, including trailhead name 
and intersection signs. These are addressed under the 
previous section, "Directional Signs." Commemorative 
plaques and engraved stones are also addressed sepa- 
rately in Chapter 10, Section A. Types of informational 
signs include: 

Trailhead exhibits are located near popular trails. 
Each consists of two embedded fiberglass panels 
that provide the trail name, a map, "Leave No Trace" 
and/or other resource protection messages, and safety 
information. An example of a trailhead exhibit is 
located at the summit of Cadillac Mountain (Fig. 9-44). 

1 ^t 


'• , «<»*"■ F 

IVt. iit »llo-rd **" °* **»*• 

XIM«l-r bj WhHlll» ■» »■««•. ••* 

«,..„ .»„!. iMttn In o.»«r lo lk< I'll*, lo 

bllim *loa« il of IB IV irhilffnwild* il 

Wnlro »rc .«ffk*»t n»«« for f*wlf* lo 

piblir IP). 

J. TV 11.. Ilarto T«»« Coancll •! 
• IV B., H.rW,r VilliB ■ ■wmnml A»«ii(i<.n • 

Fig. 9-45 Interpretive signs on the Cadillac Summit Loop Trail 
(#33) discuss the surrounding viewsheds. 

Fig. 9-46 This interpretive sign on the Shore Path (#301) gives an 
overview of the history of the trail. 


Chapter 9: Guidance; D. Informational Signs 

Interpretive signs are located at scenic overlooks, 
such as Cadillac Summit; at cultural features, such as 
Bass Harbor Head Light; at natural features, such as 
Thunder Hole; and at the several trailheads, such as 
the Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127) or the Shore Path 
(#301) in Bar Harbor. Numbered posts along nature 
trails corresponding to self-guided trail brochures are 
also considered interpretive signs (Figs. 9-45 to 9-48). 

Rules and regulatory signs with wording and/or 
symbols are also posted where necessary. Examples 
include signs explaining trail closures due to nesting 
peregrines or signs prohibiting certain practices, such 
as "No Camping" or "No Fires" (Figs. 9-49 & 9-50). 

^KdL '^Itfi&k 



Br t^fl^tt^ 

■&' * * - . B^CSS"-* 


V AjStatfKJIt MtTUttE H^^^RyL til 

|Brfi7 : * tub. j 7 ' s. ■MiLft 


^^PHURr ~^* *•( 


V I 

W8&? ■• 


W&rT' "■'"' ' 

" "^ " i-Vr-^l 

j^^ujyp/ .*;: : 


Fig. 9-47 An interpretive sign at the start of the Ship Harbor 
Nature Trail (#127). 

Safety signs are closely related to rules signs and are 
posted in areas with unsafe conditions. Examples 
include the trailheads of the ladder trails, near shore- 
line caves that are flooded at high tide, and by the 
sandbar to Bar Island, which is accessible only at low 

Finally, map signs are posted both as part of the 
trailhead exhibits and in the one map house, located 
on Eliot Mountain, near Northeast Harbor (Fig. 9-51). 
Historically, more map signs were posted in the park 
than are currently present. 


Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Beginning in the 1880s, rules were posted on the Shore 
Path (#301) in Bar Harbor to keep walkers on the 
path and off private property. A similar message was 
included on path maps and guides: 

Since the paths and trails cross private properties the 
owners of which may at any time exercise their legal 
right to close them to the public, the law in regard to 
setting fires should be strictly observed. 

Fig. 9-48 Numbered markers such as this one on the Ship 
Harbor Nature Trail (#127) are often used with self-guiding trail 

Fig. 9-49 This regulatory sign reminds hikers to stay off a newly 
vegetated area on the Ocean Path (#3). 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 


Regulatory s 


«*#■*-. '" 




Fig. 9-50 The trailhead to the Precipice Trail (#11) contains both 
interpretive signs and regulatory signs informing hikers of trail 
closure during peregrine falcon nesting season. 

Fig. 9-51 Eliot Mountain map hut on the Asticou Trail (#49). 

Fig. 9-52 This interpretive sign was installed during the Mission 
66 era at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. 

When the first path map was published by the VIA/VIS 
in 1896, it was mounted and lacquered onto boards. 
These map signs were posted at major trail intersec- 
tions. At an undetermined time, a map house was built 
on Eliot Mountain, which offered both a mounted map 
sign and a small shelter for hikers in the Northeast 
Harbor VIS district. 

The self-guided Jordan Pond Nature Trail (#463), 
developed by the Seal Harbor VIS in 1929, was the 
first of its kind in the park. It was located near the 
Jordan Pond House and extended to the western side 
of Jordan Stream to the Asticou Trail (#49). The trail 
included over seventy-five plant labels. There is still 
a self-guiding nature trail in the vicinity today, but it 
is located east of the Jordan Pond House, not on the 
original trail route. The dates of closure of the original 
nature trail and the creation of the current nature trail 
are unknown. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

By 1933, the park staff included ranger-naturalists who 
led tours on several of the most popular loops, includ- 
ing the newly built Cadillac Summit Loop Trail (#33). 
Interpretive signs were added to provide information 
along the extremely popular trail. The park also devel- 
oped three interpretive gardens, containing native 
wildflowers labeled with plant names and brief infor- 
mation. These were located at Sieur de Monts Spring 
(Wild Gardens of Acadia), the Cadillac Mountain 
summit, and the park's campground at Bear Brook, 
which is no longer present. No documentation has 
been found regarding the CCC production of interpre- 
tive signs. 

NPS/Mission 66 

In the early 1950s, interpretation was concentrated in 
the park's headquarters and at road waysides. Ranger- 
led hiking tours provided interpretation on the trails, 
but there were no self-guided trails (except possibly 
the Seal Harbor VIS Jordan Pond Nature Trail). As 
part of the park's Mission 66 plan, interpretive self- 
guiding trails were proposed on both the east and west 
sides of the island. The park built the Ship Harbor 
Nature Trail (#127) in 1957 and produced a self-guided 


Chapter 9: Guidance; D. Informational Signs 

brochure for the trail circa 1959, which corresponded 
with fourteen numbered posts along the trail route. 
The walk and brochure are still actively used. Mission 
66 may have also built a similar trail near the Jordan 
Pond House (#45). Mission 66 crews also paved the 
trail to Anemone Cave (#369), and a photograph 
taken in 1961 shows an informational sign at the end 
of the trail. The park's visitor center at Hulls Cove was 
also constructed during this period. This new facil- 
ity offered interpretive information, though it was 
detached from the trail system (Fig. 9-52). 

National Park Service 

There is limited information for informational signage 
installed by the NPS from the 1960s to the 1990s, but 
generally the style used followed generic NPS stan- 

The most recent sign was a new design for trailhead 
exhibits developed in the late 1990s. Composed of 
three cedar posts, a small roof, and two display panels, 
the kiosks display maps, trail mileage, rules, and safety 
considerations (see Fig. 9-44). The maps are generated 
through the park's Geographic Information System 
database. Information about the terrain is provided 
only for the ladder trails. Additionally, the self-guided 
trails at Jordan Pond and Ship Harbor are actively 
used by individuals and ranger-led tours. A self-guided 
nature area is also maintained within the Wild Gardens 
at Sieur de Monts Spring. 

At present the various informative signs located in the 
park do not reflect a unified style and there are no sign 
standards, other than general NPS regulations, that are 
unique to Acadia. 


1. Sign Standards 

Issues: There are no unified standards for informa- 
tional signage on the trail system. Signs are placed in an 
ad hoc manner, and there are examples of many differ- 
ent styles throughout the park. 


During the VIA/VIS period, interpretive signs were some- 
what standardized, but this did not last through other 
historic periods. Currently there is little consistency in 
the style or usage of interpretive signs throughout the trail 

Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

There is no documentation for use of informational 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Trailhead signs were installed on popular trails such as 
the Shore Path (#301) in Bar Harbor. Map signs were 
used at major path intersections and at the map house. 
All signs were developed by the VIA/VIS organizations, 
which through the Joint Path Committee developed sign 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

No new trailhead signs were developed. Interpretive signs 
were added to high use areas; however, there was no stan- 
dard for informative signage, and a mix of VIA/VIS and 
CCC styles were used. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

No new trailhead signs were developed. Self-guided nature 
trails were developed on the east and west sides of island. 
No sign standards were followed. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

New trailhead exhibits for popular trails such as the 
Cadillac North Ridge Trail (#34) were designed and 
installed. Self-guided trails remain at Jordan Pond, Ship 
Harbor, and Wild Gardens of Acadia. However, no sign 
standards are in use. 

Treatment Guidelines: According to Albert Good, 

Nothing in parks, unless it be the entranceway, offers 
wider legitimate scope for individuality in conveying 
the characteristics or background of the particular area 
than the signs and markers. These can be the embodi- 
ment of those rare and distinguishing features that have 
dictated the establishment of the park — park motifs-in- 



Signage provides an important aspect of the character 
of the park and its trail system. Therefore, unified stan- 
dards for informational signs should be developed for 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Acadia that are complementary to the system's direc- 
tional signage (as discussed in the previous section of 
this chapter) and other park signage (motor roads, car- 
riage roads, etc.). Items to be addressed include style, 
location, and number of signs. While adequate signage 
is important, the overuse of signs should be avoided, as 
too many signs detract from the natural setting. Signs 
should be informative but not overwhelming with 
excessive information, and their placement should 
not obscure views or interesting features. Signs should 
be built in a rustic style with local wood and stone, 
avoiding metal, recycled plastic, pressure-treated 
wood, laminated paper or card stock, or other materi- 
als manufactured with character that is not compat- 
ible with the historic trail system. However, these 
materials may be used for structural stability, and/or to 
deter vandalism, if they are concealed and not readily 
apparent to the casual observer. Signs should be of the 
proper scale. For example, signs constructed of large 
timbers are not appropriate for a location with pre- 
dominantly small second-growth trees. Signs should 
not be painted on stones or nailed into trees. Slight 
variations in placement and construction may be made 
to suit the topography, vegetation, ledges, or other 
natural features in the vicinity of the sign. 

2. Adequate Information 

Issue: First-time hikers may be unprepared for the 
rigor of Acadia's trails. Only hikers with guidebooks or 
using trailhead exhibits for orientation have sufficient 
information on conditions and what to expect. 

Treatment Guidelines: Informational signs can pro- 
vide hikers with various details about their destination, 
trip length, anticipated terrain, public transportation 
options, "Leave No Trace" principles, history of the 
trail, notable natural and cultural features, park regula- 
tions, appropriate gear and supplies, and safety issues 
and concerns. It is not necessary for every informa- 
tional sign to convey all this information. For example, 
a safety notice on the upper Precipice may mention 
safety issues and appropriate gear, and nothing else. 
A public transportation sign near a trailhead could 
simply state transportation options and no information 
about the trail. 

3. Accessibility 

Issue: There are currently no informational signs per- 
taining to hikers with disabilities. 

Treatment Guidelines: It is recommended that Acadia 
develop informational signage that provides accessibil- 
ity information for the trail system. 

The U.S. Access Board is 
currently developing Acces- 
sibility Guidelines for trails 
as described in the Report of 
the Regulatory Negotiation 
Committee on Accessibil- 
ity Guidelines for Outdoor 
Developed Areas (www.Access- These guidelines 
describe the ideal provisions 
for surface, width, openings, 
protruding objects, obstacles, 
passing space, running slope, 
cross slope, rest intervals, edge 
protection, and signs. The 
report provides exceptions 
that address necessary depar- 
tures from these provisions. 
For historic trails, exceptions 
are allowed where compliance 
would cause substantial harm 
to cultural, historic, religious, 
or significant natural features 
or characteristics. Exceptions 
are also allowed where the 
provisions are not feasible due 
to terrain or the prevailing con- 
struction practices. 

A key component of accessibil- 
ity, which is not fully addressed 
in the proposed accessibility 
guidelines, is providing infor- 
mation to hikers so they can 
make decisions about whether 
a trail is too difficult. A recent 
sign program, advocated by a 

Mexican Ditch 
Trail North 

Length 0.6 mi (1.0 km) 

O Hiking 

E551 Bicycling 

HJ Equestrian 

Snogs Allowed 
per posted restrictions 


No Motorized 


Typical Grade 0.8% 

15% of the trail is 2% 

12 ft (4 m) is 7% to 18% 

8% grade is a standard ramp 

JJ^ X-Slope 

Typical Cross Slope 5.0% 
10% of the trail is 6% 
286 ft (87 m) is 33% 



Typical Tread Width 

12 ft (3.7 m) 

Minimum Clearance Width 
60 in (152 cm) 

@ Surface 

Aggregate / Gravel 
100% is Firm or better 



Fence opening - 
Minimum Clearance 
Width of 16 inches to 
exit at Riverview Park 
Post 50 inches high 


Trail Access 

Fig. 9-53 Trailhead 
signage using the 
Universal Trail 
Assessment Process 
developed by Beneficial 


Chapter 9: Guidance; E. Scree 

private consultant group, Beneficial Designs Inc., offers 
parameters for information needed by all hikers, but 
particularly disabled hikers. Beneficial Designs Inc. 
identifies trail characteristics that would allow hikers 
of all abilities decide whether to hike a particular trail. 
These characteristics include trail grade, cross slope, 
width, surface firmness, and the presence of obstacles. 
Obstacles identified include tree roots, boulders, water 
crossings, ruts, vertical obstructions, steps, dangerous 
plants, and drop-offs. Information is collected through 
their Universal Trail Assessment Process (UTAP) 
and conveyed through an Internet database for trails 
across the country, in guidebooks, and by signs posted 
at individual trailheads. The trailhead sign format is 
referred to as Trail Access Information (Fig. 9-53). 


As there is such a wide range of informational sign 
styles, and there may or may not be any historical 
precedent for any given sign, there are no exacting 
specifications for their construction. However, there 
are some general guidelines that can be followed., 
as discussed in Treatment Issue 1, "Sign Standards," 
above. Informational signs, lacking historic precedent, 
need not necessarily be built in historic or even rustic 
styles. Indeed, a safety sign or ADA-related sign may 
need to "stand out" and be highly visible to the public. 
General specifications include visibility and installa- 
tion in areas safe for the visitor to view the sign. Signs 
should be of sturdy, long-lasting, and weatherproof 
construction. Professional quality is of extreme impor- 
tance, and signs should not have a shoddy, makeshift, 
or temporary appearance. 


1. All signs should be inspected yearly for needed 
replacement or repair. 

2. Safety signs should be updated as needed during 
peak hiking seasons so that hikers do not inadver- 
tently end up in an unsafe situation. 



Scree refers to stones, logs, or other natural materials 
piled along the sides of a trail to define the treadway, 
direct and restrict hikers, and protect trailside vegeta- 
tion and soil. Scree performs no structural function. 
Other stone and log features that aid in guidance such 
as steps, stepping stones, and bridges are not discussed 
in the Guidance chapter. 

Although scree can be similar in appearance to coping 
stones, there are some distinct differences. Scree is 
often placed in random piles, has a more haphazard 
appearance, and forms a continuous line along the trail 
edge. Coping stones are usually placed at regular inter- 
vals along a straight or evenly curving line at the trail's 
edge and often contribute structurally to the retention 
of the treadway (see Chapter 6, Section B). Though 
coping stones sometimes abut, forming a solid line, 
they are still a single row, are set well in the ground, 
and are overall much more orderly in appearance than 

Occasionally coping and historic scree are used 
together, when even runs of single coping stones 
are interspersed with rows of piled stones, as on the 
Asticou Trail (#49). 



There is no documentation for the use of scree prior to 
the VIA/VIS period. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

During the early period of VIA/VIS trail construction, 
stones and roots were removed from trails to create a 
smooth walking path. The result was often a path lined 
with stones acting as scree (Fig. 9-54). This technique 
was used on the most heavily traveled graveled paths, 
such as the Seaside Path (#401), a popular walk from 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

three large hotels in Seal Harbor to the Jordan Pond 
House. Annual reports describing maintenance on 
the Seaside Path suggest that this practice exacerbated 
trail erosion, and the trail eventually had to be entirely 
rebuilt. More often, stones removed from the treadway 
were set in orderly rows of coping. 

stones are piled into walls along the trail to define 
the treadway and keep hikers off fragile vegetation. 
Well-maintained stone cairns, paint blazes, and infor- 
mational signs accompany the scree and careful judge- 
ment is used in the selection of stones in alpine areas to 
form scree walls so as not to incur damage. 

During the memorial part of the VIA/VIS period, cop- 
ing stones generally increased in size, frequency, and 
regularity; at the same time, the use of scree became 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

There is no documentation for the use of scree by the 
CCC. Typically, if stones were used by the CCC along 
the trail, they were coping stones. 

NPS/Mission 66 

There is no documentation for the use of scree during 
the Mission 66 period. 

National Park Service 

The AMC has used scree in the White Mountains to 
define the trail and direct hikers since the 1970s. It 
is typically used for steep sections of woodland trail 
where large and medium stones, fallen trees, and large 
limbs are set in a random fashion along the edges of 
stone staircases to stabilize soil, direct foot traffic, and 
prevent shortcutting at switchbacks. For alpine areas, 

In the western United States, Student Conservation 
Association crews also use scree in both woodland and 
alpine situations. Stones are placed along the trail in 
a seemingly haphazard pattern so that the trail is the 
easiest and most attractive route to follow. 

Despite its widespread use on other trail systems, 
Acadia trail crews have chosen to refrain from install- 
ing large amounts of rock scree because of its impact 
on trail aesthetics. This is especially true on summits, 
where scree-lined trails appear road-like and detract 
from the natural appearance of the surrounding 
environment. However, some rock scree has been 
used recently at Acadia, primarily on woodland trails 
(Fig. 9-55). Typically, this scree is out of keeping with 
historical scree used in the park. Recent scree has a 
haphazard quality, is usually higher (a foot or greater), 
and has been used on trails where historic builders 
would not have used scree, like woodland paths. Little 
rock scree has been placed on Acadia's summit trails. 
Log scree has been introduced on woodland paths to 
define the treadway. 

Fig. 9-54 A 1907 photograph showing the early Seal Harbor VIS 
trail construction of the Seaside Path (#401). Stones and roots 
were removed from the treadway and stacked along the trail, 
acting as scree. However, this technique contributed to increased 
trail erosion, and widening of the path. 

Fig. 9-55 Scree installed on the South Bubble Trail (#43). 


Chapter 9: Guidance; E. Scree 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

There is no documentation for scree use. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Scree was used on some early paths where stones 
extracted from tread were piled along path edges. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

There is no documentation for scree use. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

There is no documentation for scree use. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Some scree was used, but generally its was avoided, par- 
ticularly on summit trails. Log scree was introduced and 
used on woodland paths to define the treadway. 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: Small amounts of scree have been used histori- 
cally in the park, but modern usage has typically been 
in a different style. Although scree may be an appropri- 
ate feature for limited use, continued use of haphazard 
scree will negatively impact trail aesthetics and historic 
integrity of the trail system. 

Treatment Guidelines: For areas in which use of scree 
is appropriate, properly constructed scree compatible 
with historic scree may be added or rebuilt in-kind. 
Log scree should be the first consideration. It can 
be blended with the natural environment, is easily 
removed, and will rot away as the preferred treadway 
becomes more established through increased use. Ran- 
dom scree will not be used under any circumstances. 

For areas where scree is not an appropriate feature, or 
where historic scree will not properly deter wander- 
ing, other methods may be employed to guide hikers. 
Revegetation of wide areas and social trails is effective, 
especially if thorny bushes or woody plants are used. 
In some cases, especially those in which trail work is 

needed for some other reason, a more appropriate 
option would be to construct an attractive treadway by 
using checks, stairs, bogwalks, coping stones, or other 
appropriate features. Additional options include place- 
ment of individual stones in an impacted area, sig- 
nage, temporary rope fences, enhanced trail marking, 
patrols, educational programs, and/or reroutes. 

Note: The use of stone scree to protect fragile summit 
vegetation from wandering hikers has not been deter- 
mined effective to date. Sample sections need to be 
installed to verify if this would be the most appropriate 
solution to this problem. 


Stone scree will be used only on those trails on which 
scree is an historically appropriate feature and should 
be constructed of local stones. Stones should be piled 
no higher than 8 inches, and no wider than 2 feet. The 
scree row should conform exactly to the trail edge, 
outlining a pleasing contour. Openings should be left 
in the scree to allow for trail drainage. 

Log scree can be used to treat any trail on which guid- 
ance is an issue that cannot be solved by other means. 
Logs and brush should be piled along the trail edge in 
away that looks natural and imitates the look of fallen 
trees in the surrounding area. Care should be taken 
to hide chainsaw marks or cut edges. The minimal 
amount of material needed to deter hikers should be 
used. However, if hiker removal of brush and smaller 
material is a problem, large trees may be placed at the 
trail edge with a hoist. At the completion of a log scree 
project, leaves and other organic material should be 
spread along the edge of the trail to better delineate it 
and cover scars left in the adjacent landscape by the 
construction work. 

Although log scree is considered a temporary measure, 
it can be left in place for many years, or even until it 
rots. Ideally, its use should be limited and the trail corri- 
dor should be defined by natural barriers, an attractive 
treadway, and/or historically appropriate construction. 





1 . Scattered scree should be re-piled as necessary. 

2. Occasional openings should be maintained in sec- 
tions of scree to allow for trail drainage. 


Wooden railings and fences are used in several loca- 
tions on the trail system to provide guidance, ensure 
hiker safety, or add an aesthetically pleasing feature to 
a particular location. The style of railing is similar to 
railings and handrails used in conjunction with trail 
bridges, although the features described here are free- 
standing and are not generally associated with bridges. 



It is evident from early photographs that many of the 
late-1800s roads, such as Sargent Drive and the old 
Ocean Drive, were lined with wooden railings. Pin 
remains suggest that some sections of the old Cadillac 
Mountain road were lined with wooden railings also. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

Wooden railings were used along cliffs and waterfalls 
in the Catskills resorts in the late 1800s, and perhaps 
the early Acadia trail builders were influenced by these 
styles. The rails certainly do provide a degree of physi- 
cal safety as well as a psychological safety net. Never- 
theless, many of the railed areas were not difficult to 
traverse, nor were they in dangerously exposed areas. 
This indicates that these rails were often installed for 
aesthetic reasons in addition to safety concerns. 

Fig. 9-56 Extant VIA/VIS railings on the abandoned Gurnee Path 


Chapter 9: Guidance; F. Wooden Railings and Fences 

Examples of VIA/VIS railings were present on the 
ledges of the Penobscot Mountain Trail (#47, formerly 
the Spring Trail, #621, from 1911), the connection from 
the Maple Spring Trail (#58) to the Hadlock Brook 
Trail (#57), the Northeast Harbor Skidoo Trail (#509) 
and Steep Trail (#508), and the Thuya Lodge trails 
(including #519). Examples of historic railings can still 
be found on the abandoned Gurnee Path (#352) (Fig. 

badly eroded hillsides. Fences were installed for the 
same purpose on the Echo Lake Ledges and near The 
Tarn. With the increase in hiker numbers, and the 
decrease in trailside vegetation related to trail widen- 
ing, the 2003 trails crew is considering adding fences as 
guidance structures to a few eroded trailside areas. 


Civilian Conservation Corps 

The CCC used wooden railings in conjunction with 
some of their constructed features, including railings 
along the Pretty Marsh Picnic Area staircases. 

1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: Wooden railings and fences were not used con- 
sistently during the historic periods, and their overuse 
is not in character with the historic trail system. 

NPS/Mission 66 

It is unknown whether wooden railings or fences were 
installed during the Mission 66 era. 

National Park Service 

From the 1980s to the present, the focus for railings 
has changed. Rails along the Beech Cliff Trail (#106) 
were established purely to direct and guide hikers off 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

Wooden railings were used along some early roads. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Wooden railings and fences were used occasionally, for 
safety as well as aesthetic reasons. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Evidence shows that wooden railings were used with some 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

It is unknown whether Mission 66 crews used wooden 
railings or fences. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

Wooden railings and fences were used primarily for hiker 
safety and to prevent trail widening and erosion in suscep- 
tible areas. 

Treatment Guidelines: If other guidance features are 
more compatible and seem to be functioning, wooden 
railings or fences should not be added to the trail sys- 
tem. However, these features can be an effective, easily 
installed, and temporary solution to guidance problems 
when there is no acceptable alternative that is histori- 
cally appropriate. They may be used on a temporary 
basis until more permanent measures can be applied. In 
some instances, vegetation growth and hiker patterns 
may change enough during the life span of railings or 
fences so that their use can be discontinued. 


Specifications for wooden railings and fences are the 
same as specifications for bridge railings described in 
Chapter 5, Section B. 


Inspect wooden railings and fences regularly for decay, 
structural integrity, splinters, and raised nails, and 
repair or replace members as necessary. 





A trail name is ascribed to each trail from its origin 
to its destination or the point where it intersects 
another trail. The name is used on trail signs, maps, in 
guidebooks, and associated documents. Having one 
designated name reduces confusion related to use and 
management of the trails. 



The terminology for trails has changed over the past 
century. In the late 1800s, prior to automobiles, most 
roads accommodated livestock and carts as well as 
pedestrians and were referred to as roads, lanes, paths, 
or passes. Routes through the woods were called 
"wood paths." Naming paths on Mount Desert Island 
became important in the 1870s and 1880s when several 
guidebooks were printed. Most names were described 
as destinations such as the Path to Jordan Pond or the 
Path up Newport Mountain. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

When the Bar Harbor VIA began marking recreational 
walks in the 1890s, routes were naturally referred to as 
paths. With the production of maps and guidebooks, 
general names such as the Path up Newport Mountain 
evolved into definitive path names, i.e., the Newport 
Mountain Path. The names of some new trails added 
to the system did not describe the destination but 
rather features along the route, such as the Sweet Fern 
Path (#360) and the Hemlock Path (#23) (Fig. 9-57). 
Beginning in 1893, Bar Harbor VIA Path Committee 
chairman, Herbert Jaques, developed a colored path 
system for trails in the Newport Mountain area, such 
as the Green and Black Path (#358). This nomenclature 
survived until 1959, when those colored paths that had 
not fallen into disuse were renamed. 

The path map printed in 1901 was the first to identify 
path names. Of the approximately forty trails named 
on the map, several were associated with the cur- 
rent landowners, including the Hadlock Ponds Paths 
(#501 and #502) and the McFarland Path (#524). 
Many called out geological features such as the Giant 
Slide Path (#63) and Chasm Path (#525) (Fig. 9-58). 
A few trail names implied the strenuous quality of the 
trail, such as the Ladder Path (#64 and #334) and the 
Goat Path (#444). With the formation of the Hancock 
County Trustees of Public Reservations (HCTPR) in 
1901 and subsequent gifts of land for protection, names 
were added to the system to commemorate individu- 
als. This began with the path to the Champlain Monu- 
ment (#453), marked in 1906, followed in 1910 by 
the Waldron Bates Memorial Path (#525), which was 
previously built and named the Chasm Path in 1903 by 
Bates himself. 

One of the founders as well as an active member of the 
HCTPR, George Dorr envisioned the Sieur de Monts 
Spring area as the nucleus of the reservation, and sub- 
sequently the national park. He guided the develop- 
ment of a network of memorial trails. The Kane Path 
(#17), Beachcroft Path (#13), Kurt Diederich's Climb 
(#16), Emery Path (#15), Homans Path (#349), Schiff 
Path (#15), Stratheden Path (#24), and Jesup Path (#14) 



Fig. 9-57 This 1890 map prepared for the Bar Harbor VIA by 
Francis H. Peabody shows trails named for vegetation along the 
route, like the Sweet Fern Path (#360). 


Chapter 9: Guidance; G. Trail Names 

evolved from Dorr's vision of a network of paths lead- 
ing to and radiating from the spring (Fig. 9-59). 

The term "trail" became popular in the twentieth cen- 
tury. Early use of the term on Mount Desert Island is 
associated with some of the steeper routes, such as the 
Precipice Trail (#11), constructed and named in 1915. 
When the reservation became part of the national park 
system, it appears that the term was applied to many of 
the existing routes. However, the VIA/VIS groups con- 
tinued to use the word "path." Similarly in about 1918, 
shortly after the park was established, Superinten- 
dent George Dorr changed the names of many of the 
mountain peaks. This in turn resulted in name changes 
for many of the trails and required the replacement of 
many signs, as described earlier in this chapter in the 
"Directional Signs" section. Local resistance to name 
changes, particularly by the Northeast Harbor VIS, 
resulted in a mix of signs with old and new names, 
a situation that persists in a few locations. Signs for 
"Brown Mountain," the earlier name of Norumbega 
Mountain, still exist. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

During the 1930s the CCC constructed new routes 
that were called trails, including the Long Pond Trail 
(#118) and the Anemone Cave Trail (#369). Under NPS 
management, most "paths" were renamed "trails." 
In the 1930s new sign standards were developed by 
the CCC and approximately 780 signs were replaced. 
These signs applied the new mountain names assigned 
by Dorr in 1918 (see Fig. 9-1). 

NPS/Mission 66 

As part of the Mission 66 program, trail signs were 
again replaced. Many of the original names of the trails 
were changed or misspelled. The Emery Path (#15) 
and Kane Path (#17) were respectively called the Dorr 
Mountain Trail and the Tarn Trail. The colored trails 
were renamed. For example, the northern end of the 
Black Path became the Bear Brook Trail (#10). Mis- 
sion 66 records, maps and inventories misspelled Jesup 
(#14) as "Jessup" and Gurnee (#352) as "Gurney." 
These spellings permeated NPS documents and have 
been retained to the present. 

National Park Service 

The use of "trail" has continued until the present for 
most of the system. However, with the research and 
planning for the trail system currently underway, there 
has been interest in returning some of the historic trails 
to their original designation as "paths," and/or to cor- 
rect names to historic spellings. 

In 2002, the Hiking Trails Management Plan addressed 
the trail name issue. Under the preferred alternative, 
the park service would develop a standardized list of 


Fig. 9-58 These signs on the summit of Sargent Mountain, 
shown in 1907, marked trails by the natural features found on 
the route, like the Giant Slide, Chasm Brook, and Somes Sound 
(enlargement of Fig. 9-25). 

Fig. 9-59 Carved stones, like this one marking the Stratheden 
Path (#24), were used to identify Dorr's trails radiating from Sieur 
de Monts. Many are still extant in the park. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

trail names, reverting to historic names "when prac- 
tical." Additionally, they would encourage private 
guidebook and map publishers to use this official list 
of trail names to reduce confusion. 47 For example, the 
CCC Great Pond Trail is now referred to as the Long 
Pond Trail, since most maps refer to the adjacent water 
body as Long Pond. 


Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

Names were destination oriented, such as the Path up 
Newport Mountain. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

The use of "path" rather than "trail" predominated. Path 
names were associated with destinations, features along 
route, landowners, commemoration of individuals, and 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

The use of "trail" and newly established mountain names 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Many names were misspelled and memorial paths were 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

There was continued use of Mission 66 era names until the 
recent planning for the trail system, which raised the issue 
of returning to historic precedents. 


1. Reestablishment of Historic Names 

Issue: Many of the historic trail names have been 
altered over time. However, simply reestablishing all 
historic names is not a feasible option, since this would 
present a variety of concerns. Some of the interrelated 
issues regarding trail naming include: 

• Hikers are confused, and sometimes misled by 
trails that have two or more names, or that contra- 
dict the names or spellings on maps or guides. 

Some name changes took place during the VIA/ 
VIS or CCC historic period. For example, the VIA/ 
VIS path committees referred to the Canon Brook 
Path (#19) as the Canon (Spanish for canyon) Path 
(1901) and Canyon Brook Path. Many routes that 
were referred to as paths by the VIA/VIS were 
referred to as trails by the CCC. 
None of the colored path names have persisted. 
Some colored paths have been renamed, such as 
the Black Path, which is now the Gorham Moun- 
tain Trail (#4), Bowl Trail (#8), and Bear Brook 
Trail (#10). Many are no longer marked such as 
the White Path (#329), Yellow Path (#338), and 
Yellow and White Path (#336). Even during the 
historic period, some considered the colored path 
names confusing. 

On some historic paths the route has been altered 
or a portion is no longer marked, which may cause 
confusion if the historic name is used. Examples 
include the Orange and Black Path (#12 and #348), 
Black Path (#4, #8, #10, and #346), and Jordan 
South End Path (#47 and #409). 
Some historic trails have assumed new sections, 
such as the upper section of the Beachcroft Path 
beyond Huguenot Head, which is actually upper 
section of the Black and White Path (#326). 

Treatment Guidelines: The significance of the various 
types of historical trail names is a key component of 
the island's trail system. The original names contrib- 
ute to the character and history of the trails, and their 
reintroduction will promote greater awareness and 
educational opportunities for the park. 

It is recommended that historic trail names be used 
when feasible, as stated in the Hiking Trails Manage- 
ment Plan: 

When practical, the NPS may revert to historic trail 
names. Trail names will be determined on a trail by trail 
basis, considering the historic importance of the name, 
whether the historic name would confuse visitors, and 
other considerations. An official list of park trail names 
will be developed, and publishers of hiking-related 
information will be encouraged to use official trail 


Chapter 9: Guidance; G. Trail Names 

names to reduce confusion. Changing trail names will 
be carefully planned and coordinated with publishers 
of information about the trail system to minimize visi- 
tor confusion, costs associated with the new signs, and 
effects on local communities. 48 


The following recommendations are made for changes 
to specific trail names. These recommendations were 
developed by Acadia's Trail Naming Committee in 
February 2002. A thorough explanation of trail naming 
at Acadia and the reasoning behind each of the recom- 
mended changes is included at the end of this report in 
Appendix C. 


Trail names listed below are those that currently differ from VIA/VIS or CCC historic names and those for which altered routes 
(different trailheads) are suggested. This chart does not list trail names that have been changed to be consistent with the current 
names of mountains or other natural features. 

Trail Number and 
Current Name 

Historic Name/Names 

Suggested Name 


#4 Gorham Mountain 

Black Path 

Gorham Mountain Trail 

Current route 

#5 Gorham/Cadillac 
Cliffs Trail 

Cadillac Cliffs Path 
Black Path 

Cadillac Cliffs Path 

Current route 

#9 Sand Beach-Great 
Head Access Trail 

Ocean Drive 

Satterlee Trail 

Current route 

#10 Bear Brook Trail 

Black Path 

Champlain North Ridge 

Current route from the summit 
north to the Loop Road 

Black Path 

Champlain South Ridge 

Current route from the summit 
south to the Bowl Trail 

#12 Champlain Moun- 
tain East Face Trail 

Orange and Black Path 

Orange and Black Path 

Current route of Champlain 
Mountain East Face Trail i 

#13 Beachcroft Trail 

Beachcroft Path (section), 
Black and White Path (section) 

Beachcroft Path 

Current route 

#15 Dorr Mountain East 
Face Trail 

Emery Path 

Emery Path 

Sieur de Monts to Sieur de Monts 
Crag intersection 



Sieur de Monts Crag intersection to 
Dorr summit 

#17 Tarn Trail 

Kane Path 

Kane Path 

Current route 

#18 Sieur de Monts- 
Tarn Trail 

Wild Gardens Path 

Wild Gardens Path 

Current route 

#19 Canon Brook Trail 

Canon, Canon, Canyon, or 

Canon Brook 

From the trail's original entrance 
on Route 3, past Featherbed, to 
intersection with Bubble and 
Jordan Pond Path 

#20 Pond Trail 

Bubble and Jordan Ponds Path 

Bubble and Jordan Ponds 

From Jordan Pond, past intersec- 
tion with historic route of Canyon 
Brook, along historic corridor, 
tying in with carriage road near 
Bubble Pond 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 


Current Name 

Historic Name/Names 

Suggested Name 


#21 Dorr Mountain 
North and South 
Ridge Trails 

Kebo Mountain Path 

Kebo Mountain Trail 

Loop Road, over Kebo, to Hemlock Trail 

Dry Mountain Path 

Dorr North Ridge Trail 

From intersection w/Kebo Mountain 
Path north to summit 

Dry Mountain Path 

Dorr South Ridge Trail 

Current route 

#23 Hemlock Trail 

Hemlock Path 

Hemlock Trail 

Current route 

#24 Stratheden Trail 

Harden Farm Path, 
Stratheden Path 

Stratheden Path 

Current route, eventually extended 
across loop road to connector 

#25 A. Murray Young 

A.Murray Young Path 

A. Murray Young Path 

Current route 

#28 Gorge Trail 

Gorge Path 

Gorge Path 

Current route, eventually to extend to 

#29 Triad Pass Trail 

Triad Pass 

Triad Pass 

Current route 

#30 Pemetic West Cliff 

Part of Pemetic Trail 

Pemetic South Ridge 

Summit of Pemetic south to Jordan and 
Bubble Ponds Path 

#31 Pemetic 

Mountain Trail, 

Pemetic Trail, 
Old Trail 

Pemetic North Ridge 

Bubble Pond north to Pemetic summit 

East Cliff Trail 

Pemetic East Cliff Trail 

From intersection with Pemetic South 
Ridge Trail southeast to intersection with 
Jordan and Bubble Ponds Path 

Part of Van Santvoord Trail, 
unnamed connector 

Triad Trail 

From Day Mountain Bridge north over 
summit of Triad to intersection with 
Jordan and Bubble Ponds Path 

#32 Cadillac West Face 

Near route of abandoned 
Steep Trail 

Cadillac West Face 

Current route 

#35 Hunters Brook Trail 

Hunter's Brook Trail (sec- 

Van Santvoord Trail (sec- 

Hunters Brook Trail 

Current Route 

#36 Bubbles-Pemetic 

Northwest Trail 

Pemetic Northwest 

Current route 

#38 Jordan Pond Carry 

Eagle Lake Carry, Jordan 
Pond Carry, Carry Trail, 
Carry Path 

Jordan Pond Carry 

Current route 

#39 Jordan Pond Loop 

Jordan Pond Path (1928 sign 
and 1928 guidebook), East 
Jordan Path (1903), West 
Jordan Path(1903) East Side 
(1906), West Side(1906), 
Jordan Path, Jordan Pond 
Path (1937) 

Jordan Pond Path 

Current route 

#41, #43 North/South 
Bubble Trails 

Bubble Mountain Trail 

Bubbles Trail 

From JP Carry intersection at JP, over 
South Bubble, over North Bubble, 
Connors Nubble, to Eagle Lake Trail 

Bubbles Divide Trail 

Bubbles Divide 

From Bubbles parking up through notch 
and down to Jordan Pond 


Chapter 9: Guidance; G. Trail Names 


Current Name 

Historic Name/Names 

Suggested Name 


#47 Penobscot 

Mountain Trail 

Spring Trail 

Spring Trail 

Jordan Stream to ridge of 

Jordan South End Path 

Penobscot Mountain Trail 

Summit of Penobscot south 
along ridge to Asticou and Jordan 
Pond Path 

#48 Jordan Cliffs Trail 

Jordan Bluffs Path, Jordan Cliffs 

Jordan Cliffs Trail 

From intersection with Spring 
Trail north to Deer Brook Trail 

East Cliffs Trail 

Sargent East Cliffs Trail 

From intersection with Deer 
Brook Trail north, then west to 
summit of Sargent Mountain 

#49 Asticou Trail 

Asticou and Jordan Pond Path 

Asticou and Jordan Pond 

Current route 

#52 Sargent Mountain 
South Ridge Trail 

Sargent Mountain Ridge Trail 

Sargent South Ridge Trail 

Current route 

#53 Sargent Mountain 
North Ridge Trail 

Pieces of Aunt Bettys Pond 
Trail, perhaps Sargent Mountain 
Ridge Trail, and an unnamed 
connector to Giant Slide 

Sargent Northwest Trail 

From the summit of Sargent, 
north and then down to the west 
and connecting to Giant Slide 

#57 Hadlock Brook 

Waterfall Trail 
Hadlock Brook Trail 

Hadlock Brook Trail 

Current route 

#60 Norumbega 
Mountain Trail 

Goat Trail 

Goat Trail 

Parkman parking to summit 

Browns Mountain Path 

Norumbega Mountain 

Lower Hadlock Pond to summit 

#65 Jordan Stream 

Jordan Stream Path 

Jordan Stream Path 

Current route 

#69 to #502, unnamed 
connector to 
Hadlock Ponds 

Hadlock Ponds Trail 

Hadlock Ponds Trail 

Lower Hadlock pump house to 
Hadlock Brook Trail 

#105 Flying Mountain 

Flying Mountain Trail 

Flying Mountain Trail 

Fernald Point parking, over 
summit, to head of Valley cove 

Valley Cove Trail 

Valley Cove Trail 

Head of Valley Cove across CCC 
trail along cove to intersection at 
end of Man O'War Brook Road 

#110 Sluiceway Trail 

Sluiceway Trail 
Little Notch Trail 

Sluiceway Trail 

Current route 

#111 Bernard 

Mountain South 
Face Trail 

South Face Trail 
Kaighn Trail 
Moss Trail 

Bernard Mountain Trail 

Current route of Bernard South 
Face Trail 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


Current Name 

Historic Name/Names 

Suggested Name 


#112 Razorback Trail 

Razorback Trail 

Razorback Trail 

From intersection with Gilley 
Trail to intersection with the spur 
to Mansell Mtn. Trail, then west 
to Great Notch; includes spur to 
Mansell Mountain 

#115 Mansell 

East Peak Trail 

Mansell Mountain Trail 

From Gilley Field to intersection 

Mountain Trail 

Razorback spur, continuing to 

#117 Cold Brook Trail 

Cold Brook Trail, 
Gilley Trail 

Cold Brook Trail 

Current route 

#118 Long Pond Trail 

Great Brook Trail, Great Pond 

Long Pond Trail 

Current route 

#120 Western 

Western Trail, 

Great Notch Trail (section) 

See below 

Mountain Trail 

Center Road 

#122 Great Notch 

Great Notch Trail 

Great Notch Trail 

Beginning at intersection with 


Gilley Trail, through notch, 
over route of current Western 
Mountain Trail, to Long Pond 
Fire Road 

#401 Seaside Path 

Jordan Pond Path 


Seaside Path 

Current route 






Harold Peabody and Charles Grandgent, Walks on Mount Desert 
Island (1928), 4. 

Bar Harbor VIA 1906 Annual Report. 

Bar Harbor VIA 1906 Annual Report. 

Hiking Trails Management Plan, 23. 

Carl Demrow and David Salisbury, The Complete Guide to Trail 
Building and Maintenance (Boston: Appalachian Mountain Club 
Books, 1998), 94. 

Demrow and Salisbury, 95-96. 

Peabody and Grandgent, 4. 

Bar Harbor VIA 1906 Annual Report. 

Hiking Trails Management Plan, 28. 

Albert H. Good, Park and Recreation Structures (National Park 
Service, 1938), Vol. 1, 39. 

Hiking Trails Management Plan, 29. 

HikingTrails Management Plan, 29. 


Fig. 10-1 
Waldron Bates 
in the cliffs of 
the Gorham 
Cadillac Cliffs 
Trail (#5), circa 






Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


The trail system contains many associated fea- 
tures that fall outside the boundaries of con- 
structed trail features. Although these items are 
not integral to the trails' construction, they still enrich 
the hiking experience at Acadia. In this section, treat- 
ment guidelines are provided for two of these features. 

A. Monuments 

B. Associated Structures 

Monuments include commemorative plaques and 
engraved stones used to commemorate trail builders, 
explorers, and other individuals significant to the his- 
tory of Acadia (Fig. 10-1). Structures associated with 
the trail system include a variety of trail amenities such 
as benches, shelters, comfort stations, and observation 
towers (Fig. 10-2). 

Comfort, safety, and appreciation of the natural beauty 
and cultural history of the island have been an integral 
part of the trail system since the formation of the VIA/ 
VIS path committees in the 1890s and early 1900s. The 
commitment of the VIA/VIS groups to the trail system 
was manifested in the careful selection of trail routes 
and the placement of signs, benches, shelters, and 
commemorative features. With the creation of the park 
in 1916, a broader range of hikers required additional 
associated features, developed in accordance with park 
system standards. 

Fig. 10-3 The Champlain Monument, along Route 3, soon after 
its installation and dedication in 1906. Trails to the monument 
connected to Seal Harbor and Day Mountain. 



A number of monuments at Acadia commemorate trail 
builders, philanthropists, and individuals associated 
with the cultural history of the island. Two types of 
monuments are associated with the trails and described 
in this document. 

A commemorative plaque is a plaque cast in bronze or 
other metal which is mounted on the face of a cliff, into 
a large boulder, or in one case, into a stone bench; all of 
these commemorate individuals. 

An engraved stone is a boulder, step, or cut stone into 
which text has been engraved. Generally, engraved 
stones associated with trails name the trails themselves 
and were located at one or both entrances to the trail. 


Fig. 10-2 This 19th-century gazebo with a bench nearby, 
photographed in the 1870s, was built as part of a Bar Harbor 
summer estate in the vicinity of some of the earliest Bar Harbor 
recreational paths. 


Chapter 10: Monuments and associated Structures; A. Monuments 



There is no documentation or evidence of monument 
construction prior to the VIA/VIS period. 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

In 1906, the first two commemorative plaques were 
added to the park. A large stone with descriptive 
plaques on both sides was erected on the southeastern 
side of Day Mountain (currently located near the trail- 
head for the Day Mountain Trail, #37) to honor Samuel 
de Champlain (Fig. 10-3), and the Bar Harbor VIA 
installed a smaller plaque on the edge of Fawn Pond to 
commemorate Charles T. How's gift of the pond and 
forty acres of land to the park. Over twenty additional 
commemorative plaques and inscribed stones were 
added between 1910 and 1945. 49 As members of the 
Mount Desert Island community, mostly summer 
residents in Bar Harbor, Seal Harbor and Northeast 
Harbor, either contributed land or died, a fitting tribute 
was to establish a memorial path or place a com- 
memorative plaque at a favored spot. For example, 

when Waldron Bates, Bar Harbor VIA Path Commit- 
tee chairman (1900-1909), died suddenly in 1909, the 
Chasm Path (#525) was renamed the Waldron Bates 
Memorial Path. A sign was posted at the upper end of 
the trail. In addition, many people contributed funds 
for a commemorative plaque to be placed on a ledge at 
the southern end of the Cadillac Cliffs Walk (#5) laid 
out by Bates, which the Bar Harbor VIA considered the 
"best illustration of engineering skill in path making" 50 
(Figs. 10-1 & 10-4). 

Beginning in 1913, George Dorr guided the develop- 
ment of a network of memorial trails radiating from the 
Sieur de Monts Spring area, which he envisioned as the 
nucleus of Hancock County Trustees' reservation and 
proposed National Park. Six trails, each marked with an 
engraved stone and most with a bronze commemora- 
tive plaque, were built between 1913 and 1918, includ- 
ing the Kane Path (#17), Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16), 
Beachcroft Path (#13), Emery Path (#15), Jesup Path 
(#14), Homans Path (#349), and Stratheden Path (#24) 
(Figs. 10-5 to 10-12). 

Fig. 10-5 Commemorative plaque honoring John Innes Kane on 
the Kane Path (#17). 

Fig. 10-4 Detail of the Waldron Bates plaque, photographed in 

Fig. 10-6 Detail of John Innes Kane plaque. 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

Fig. 10-10 Detail of the engraved stone on the Beachcroft Path 

Fig. 10-7 Engraved stone marking the Kane Path (#17). 

Fig. 10-8 Detail of the engraved stone step marking the entrance 
to Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16). 


' Engraved x 


^ stone ^ 

" '?:'- .^'Hsi 

•_ . — -. ; - . 

f m^tjatitai 

Fig. 10-11 1918 commemorative plaque honoring Morris K. and 
Maria DeWitt Jesup on the Jesup Path (#14). 

Fig. 10-9 Beachcroft Path trailhead with and engraved stone to 
the right of the trail. 

Fig. 10-12 "Sweet Waters of Acadia" engraved stone off the Park 
Loop Road near Sieur de Monts. This stone is probably not in its 
original location. 


Chapter 10: Monuments and associated Structures; a. Monuments 

In the Seal Harbor VIS district, similar commemorative 
activities took place, but to a lesser degree. A circuit 
path was built in memory of John Van Santvoord 
(#450), path committee chairman from 1907 until his 
death in 1913. A simple commemorative plaque was 
placed at the summit of the East Triad in 1915 (Fig. 10- 
13). About this time a granite bench and commemora- 
tive plaque honoring Sarah Cushing was placed on the 
shore of Jordan Pond, not far from the Jordan Pond 
House. No documentation has been found about this 
commemorative bench. In association with gifts of 
land, a plaque was also placed on Acadia Mountain 
circa 1918 to recognize Reverend Cornelius Smith and 
Mary Wheeler. 

After a post-World War I lull, work on memorial paths 
resumed in the mid-1920s. In Seal Harbor, the VIS 
placed a commemorative plaque on a large boulder 

along the Seaside Path (#401) circa 1925 in memory of 
Edward Rand, who was responsible for the VIA/VIS 
path maps and a former path committee chairman (Fig. 
10-14). In the Bar Harbor VIA district several memorial 
paths were added to the system, while some existing 
trails were endowed with maintenance funds. Com- 
memorative plaques were set on existing large boulders 
on the newly built Andrew Murray Young Path (#25) 
and the already established Gorge Path (#28). A stone 
bridge and associated engraved stone were placed at 
the outlet of Lakewood (#309) in recognition of the 
land gift of Annie Kane and Fanny Bridgham (Figs. 
10-15 to 10-17). Two additional memorial trails were 
established, the newly built Gurnee Path (#352) and the 
already established Canon Brook Path (#19), but these 
did not receive monuments. In Northeast Harbor, a 
commemorative plaque was placed on Eliot Mountain 
circa 1929 in memory of Charles W. Eliot, founder of 

Fig. 10-13 Commemorative plaque on the Van Santvoord Trail 

Fig. 10-14 Commemorative plaque honoring Edward Lothrop 
Rand on the Jordon Pond Seaside Path (#401). 

Fig. 10-15 Commemorative plaque honoring Andrew Murray 
Young on the Andrew Murray Young Path (#25). 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

the Hancock County Trustees (Fig. 10-18). Nearby, a 
rough-cut engraved stone was placed on the Asticou 
Terraces in memory of Joseph Curtis. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

Fewer monuments were added to the trail system as the 
VIS/VIS role in the construction and maintenance of 
paths diminished. The CCC did not initiate the addi- 
tion of monuments to the system and the NPS tended 
to discourage the placement of monuments on park 
land, with a few exceptions. However, one significant 
monument was added during the 1930s. A commemo- 
rative plaque honoring Stephen Mather, the first direc- 
tor of the Park Service, was placed at the entrance to 
the Cadillac Mountain Summit Loop Trail (#33) (Fig. 

10-19). Similar plaques were placed at all national parks 
across the United States. 

NPS/Mission 66 

Two monuments were added to the trail system dur- 
ing the Mission 66 era. In the early part of the period, 
the Seal Harbor VIS installed the last commemorative 
plaque honoring a VIA/VIS member. This plaque was 
installed on the Jordan Pond Path (#39) circa 1945 in 
memory of Joseph Allen, Seal Harbor VIS Path Com- 
mittee chairman from 1914 to 1945 (Fig. 10-20). During 
the 1960s, the NPS honored John D. Rockefeller, Jr. 
with a commemorative plaque. The plaque was located 
along the Ocean Path (#3) at Otter Point and described 
Rockefeller's contributions to the creation of Acadia 
National Park (Fig. 10-21). 


Fig. 10-16 Lilian Endicott Francklyn commemorative plaque on 
the Gorge Path (#28). 

Fig. 10-18 Eliot Mountain commemorative plaque. 

Fig. 10-17 Engraved stone near the Kane 8i Bridgham Memorial 
Bridge along the path around Lakewood (#309). 

Fig. 10-19 Stephen Mather commemorative plaque on the 
Cadillac Summit Loop Trail (#33). 


Chapter 10: Monuments and associated Structures; A. Monuments 

National Park Service 

No monuments have been added within the park in 
association with the path system since the 1960s. One 
commemorative plaque was added in the 1980s outside 
park boundaries in Northeast Harbor to honor Gordon 
H. Fait, who worked on trails around the village (Fig. 
10-22). In 1990, park volunteers Charles and Virginia 
Edwards conducted a park-wide inventory of monu- 
ments. They located thirty-two monuments (not all 
associated with the trail system), including four monu- 
ments associated with the park but not on park land. 
Since this time the park has assumed ownership of one 
of these four, the Charles T. How commemorative 
plaque, located on the shore of Fawn Pond. In 1993, the 
NPS documented the monuments as part of the List of 
Classified Structures (LCS). 

Fig. 10-20 Joseph Allen commemorative plaque on the Jordan 
Pond Trail (#39). 

Fig. 10-21 Rockefeller commemorative plaque at Otter Point on 
the Ocean Path (#3). 


The earliest monuments under the VIA/VIS were 
engraved stones. Later monuments consisted of bronze 
commemorative plaques mounted on stones. Although 
each monument is slightly different, the general usage did 
not vary much during the historic period. Later periods 
saw little addition to the trail monuments. 

Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

No monuments were associated with trails. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Some twenty monuments were added to the trail system. 
Most were engraved stones or commemorative plaque on 
boulders and ledges. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

One monument was added to the trail system. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Two monuments were added to the trail system. 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

No new monuments were added. 

Fig. 10-22 Gordon H. Fait commemorative plaque. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


Name and Date Installed 
Trail Name and Location 



Champlain Monument, 1906 

Day Mountain Trail (#37), 
70 feet north of Route 3 and 75 feet 
east of trail, formerly at the end of 
the Champlain Monument Path 


Two bronze commemorative 
plaques on relocated boulder 

Front Side: 

"In honor of 

Samuel de Champlain 

Born in France 1567 

Died at Quebec 1635 

A soldier sailor explorer 

And administrator 

Who gave this island its name." 

Rear Side: 

"The same day we passed also near 

an island about four or five leagues 

long... it is very high, notched in 

places so as to appear from the 

sea like a range of seven or eight 

mountains close together. The 

summits of most of them are bare 

of trees for they are nothing but 

rock. I named it The Island of the 

Desert Mountains, Champlain's 

Journal, 5 September, 1604." 

Placed by the Hancock County Trustees of Public 
Reservations. Originally placed on their first 
parcel of donated land, west of Ox Hill overlook- 
ing the Cranberry Isles, the monument was later 
moved to its present location along Route 3. 

Charles T. How, 1906 

Fawn Pond (#309), ledge on 
northwest side of pond, facing 

Bronze commemorative plaque 

"This plaque 

Commemorates the gift by 

Charles T. How 

Of the Fawn Pond 

And forty acres of land 

To the 

Bar Harbor Village 

Improvement Association 


Placed by the Bar Harbor VIA in recognition of 
one of the first land gifts for preservation. The 
land was sold to the National Park Service in the 

Waldron Bates, 1910 

Gorham Mountain Trail (#4), 
southern end at junction with 
Cadillac Cliffs Trail 

Bronze commemorative plaque on 


Waldron Bates 




Placed by the Bar Harbor VIA in memory of 
Waldron Bates, who laid out over 25 miles of 
trails, helped map the trail system in the 1890s, 
developed standards for trail construction and 
maintenance, and served as Bar Harbor VIA Path 
Committee chairman. Bates laid out the Cadil- 
lac Cliffs Path. The plaque was designed by New 
York sculptor and summer resident, William 
Ordway Partridge. 

Waldron Bates, 1910 

Waldron Bates Memorial Path/ 
Chasm Path (#525), at upper end 
of path — exact location unknown 



Described by Mitchell in the Bar Harbor VIA 
1910 Path Committee Annual Report 

John Innes Kane, 1913 

Kane Path (#17), northern end of 

Bronze commemorative plaque on 

"In memory of 

John Innes Kane 

A man of kindness who 

Found his happiness in 

Giving others pleasure 


Memorial trail funded by Mrs. John I. Kane in 
1913. Described by Rudolph Brunnow in his 1914 
Bar Harbor VIA Path Committee report. Com- 
pleted in 1915 and attributed to George Dorr. 


Chapter 10: Monuments and associated Structures; A. monuments 

John Innes Kane, ca. 1913 

Kane Path (#17), 
northern end of trail, exact loca- 
tion unknown 

Engraved stone 

Kane Path 

See above, placement attributed to George Dorr. 

Kurt Diederich, 1913 

Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16), 
currently located in park sign shop 

Bronze commemorative plaque 

"In memory 


Kurt Diederich 

Who loved these mountains 


Trail construction funded by Mrs. Hunt Slater in 
memory of her nephew, described by Rudolph 
Brunnow in his 1915 Bar Harbor VIA path com- 
mittee report and attributed to George Dorr. 

Kurt Diederich, ca. 1913 

Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16), 
lower end of path near The Tarn 

Engraved stone step 

"Kurt Diederich's Climb" 

See above, installation attributed to George Dorr. 

Beachcroft Path, ca. 1915 

Beachcroft Path (#13), lower end 
of path near Route 3 

Engraved stone 


Mrs. C. Morton Smith funded construction of ' 
the path, and later, in 1926, funded improvements 
and a maintenance endowment. Installation 
attributed to George Dorr. 

Sweet Waters of Acadia, ca. 1916 

Emery Path (#15), lower end at 
Sieur de Monts Spring 

Engraved stone 

"Sweet Waters of Acadia" 

Located at Sieur de Monts Spring, the hub of the 
network of the memorial trails, installation attrib- 
uted to George Dorr. 

Morris K. and Maria DeWitt 
Jesup, 1918 

Jesup Path (#14), southern end of 

Bronze commemorative plaque on 

"In Memory of 

Morris K. and Maria DeWitt Jesup 

Lovers of this island 


Morris Jesup was a railroad investor and banker 
and president of the Chamber of Commerce 
of New York, the Audubon Society, one of 
the incorporators of the American Museum 
of American History, and a leader in efforts to 
protect the Adirondacks. On Mount Desert 
Island, he was active in the Bar Harbor VIA and 
helped establish the Jesup Memorial Library. 
George Dorr named a path for the Jesups in 1916 
and directed placement of the plaque. 

Jesup Path, ca. 1918 

*Former Jesup Path at Cromwell 
Harbor Road (#375), at intersec- 
tion with Harden Farm Road 

Engraved stone 

"Jesup P ath" 

Entrance marker for memorial path dedicated to 
Morris K. and Maria DeWitt Jesup. Installation 
by George Dorr. See above. 

Stratheden Path, ca. 1916 

In the woods north of Sieur de 
Monts Spring House 

Engraved stone 

"Stratheden Path" 

See next entry. 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

Stratheden Path, ca. 1916 

Stratheden Path (#24), west side of 
Sieur de Monts Fire Road at junc- 
tion with Hemlock Road 

Engraved stone 


Formerly known as the Harden Farm Path, no 
documentation has been found on when and 
why the trail name was changed, or the rationale 
for choosing the name. Installation attributed to 
George Dorr. 

Stratheden Path, ca. 1916 

* Former Stratheden Path (#24) 
trailhead on Cromwell Harbor 
Road, south of road in the golf 
course, approximately 30 feet 
south of roadbed, at a small pull- 
off, approximately 1850 feet east 
of the Rte. 233 intersection at the 
Kebo Valley Club. 

Engraved stone 


See previous entry 

Van Santvoord Trail, 1916 

Pemetic Mountain Trail (#31), on 
ledge at summit, facing west 

Bronze commemorative plaque 

"The Van Santvoord Trail" 

Installed by Seal Harbor VIS and named for John 
Van Santvoord, who was Seal Harbor VIS Path 
Committee chairman from 1907 until his death in 
1913. His successor, Joseph Allen, led the effort to 
construct and name the trail. 

Sarah Eliza Sigourney Cushing, 
Date Installed Unknown 

Jordan Pond Nature Trail (#45), 
south end of trail, 50 feet south of 
boat launch 

Bronze commemorative plaque 
and granite bench 

"In grateful loving memory of 
Sarah Eliza Sigourney Cushing 

Wife of Edward Tuckerman 

She dearly loved this spot" 

This is the only commemorative plaque associ- 
ated with a bench. 

Edward L. Rand, ca. 1925 

'Seaside Path (#401), southern end 
of path near private road 

Bronze commemorative plaque on 
large boulder 

"To the memory of 

Edward Lothrop Rand 


In grateful recognition of 

His pioneer service and labor of 


In making known 

The flora of Mount Desert 

And compiling maps of 

Its woodland and mountain paths" 

Installed by Seal Harbor VIS in memory of 
Edward Rand who was a member of the Cham- 
plain Society, coathored Flora ofMt. Desert, path 
maps, and guidebooks, and served as Seal Harbor 
VIS Path Committee chairman. Rand was active 
in the early marking of the Seal Harbor VIS path 
network, including the Seaside Path. 

Andrew Murray Young, ca. 1924 

Andrew Murray Young Path (#25), 
lower end of trail, 800 feet north 
of Canon Brook Trail junction, 
near brook. 

Metallic commemorative plaque 
(white metal) on large boulder 

"In memory of 

Andrew Murray Young, 

Who loved this island 

Where god has given 

Of his beauty with a 

Lavish hand 


Funded and endowed by his wife, Marie Hunt 
Young. Described by Harold Peabody in his Bar 
Harbor VIA Path Committee reports in 1924-26. 
Installation attributed to George Dorr and the Bar 
Harbor VIA. 


Chapter 10: monuments and associated Structures; A. Monuments 

Lillian Endicott Francklyn, ca. 

Gorge Path (#28), 3/4 mile south 
of Loop Road, on ledge just below 
waterfall and pool 

Bronze commemorative plaque 

"In loving memory of 
Lilian Endicott Francklyn 


This trail is endowed by 

Her friends" 

Funded by several summer residents who 
endowed the trail with a maintenance fund. 
Installation attributed to George Dorr and the Bar 
Harbor VIA. 

Kane & Bridgham, ca. 1929 

Fawn Pond Path (#309), at outlet 
of Lake Wood 

Engraved stone 

"In memory of 

Annie Cottenet Kane & 

Fanny Schermerhorn Bridgham 

Who gave the lake & 

Surrounding land to 

Acadia National Park" 

Unknown history. Located near the Kane & 
Bridgham Bridge, designed by Beatrix Farrand 
and built between 1926 and 1929. Pieces of the 
bridge are still visible. Installation attributed to 
George Dorr and the Bar Harbor VIA. 

Stephen Tyng Mather, 1930s 

Cadillac Summit Loop Trail (#33), 
at trailhead, near parking lot 

Bronze commemorative plaque 

"Stephen Tyng Mather 
July 4, 1867-Jan 22, 1930 
He laid the foundation of the 
National Park 
Service defining and establishing 
the policies 
Under which its areas shall be 
developed and Conserved unim- 
paired for future generations. 
There will never come an end to 
the good that He has done." 

A similar plaque is located in all national parks — 
not directly associated with the development of 
the trail system. 

Charles William Eliot, date 

*Eliot Mountain Trail to Map 
House (#516), along trail on ledge 
facing south 

Bronze commemorative plaque 

"Eliot Mountain 

Named for 

Charles William Eliot 


One of the first to cruise these 

Island-dotted down-east waters 


He bought this land and built the 

first summer 

Cottage on this shore 1882 

Founder of the 

Hancock County Trustees of 

Public Reservations 1903, 

Through which the lands were 


And the 

Lafayette National Monument, 

Now Acadia National Park, was 


History unknown. 

Joseph Henry Curtis, 1932 

Elliot Mountain Trail to Asticou 
Terrace Path (#519)*, patio area 
halfway up path 

Engraved stone with bronze com- 
memorative plaque insert 


Joseph Henry Curtis 

Landscape architect 

Vigilant protector 

Of these hills 

The Asticou Terraces are his gift 

For the quiet recreation of the 


Of this town and their summer 


The plaque was cast by Roman Bronze Works in 
New York. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Joseph Allen, ca. 1945 

"Lover of rocks and high places 

Placed by the Seal Harbor VIS after Allen's death 

Builder of trails 

in 1945. 

Jordan Pond Path (#39), at water's 

Conserver of natural beauty 

edge, near intersection with Jordan 

Joseph Allen 

Pond Carry Path (#38), facing 



Seal Harbor Path Committee 

Bronze commemorative plaque 

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1960s 

"John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1874- 

Rockefeller, Jr. donated large tracts of land to the 


park and funded much of the construction of the 

Ocean Path (#3), approximately 

These groves of spruce and fir, 

carriage road and motor road system. Rockefeller 

770 feet north of Otter Point 

these granite ledges, this magnifi- 

was involved in the construction of Ocean Drive, 

cent window on the sea, were given 

Otter Cliffs overlook, and the associated Ocean 

Bronze commemorative plaque on 

to the United 

Path construction carried out by the CCC in the 


States by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. 
He was among the first 
To sense the need to preserve 
America's natural beauty and, 
To set standards of environmental 
quality. This quiet, dedicated con- 
servationist gave generously of his 
time, wisdom and resources to help 
establish this park and others, 
For the physical, cultural and 
spiritual benefit of the American 


outside of park boundary 


1. Location of Monuments 

Issue: One engraved stone and at least two commemo- 
rative plaques have been removed, and some of the 
trails or trail segments to which markers refer have 
been abandoned. 

Treatment Guidelines: Monuments should not be 
moved from their historic locations. According to NPS 
Management Policies: 

Many commemorative works have existed in the parks 
long enough to qualify as historic features. A key aspect 
of their historical interest is that they reflect the knowl- 
edge, attitudes, and tastes of the persons who designed 
and placed them. These works and their inscriptions 
will not be altered, relocated, obscured, or removed, 
even when they are deemed inaccurate or incompat- 
ible with prevailing present-day values. Any exceptions 
require specific approval by the Director. 51 

If the original location of a removed monument can be 
determined, the monument will returned to this loca- 
tion. If not, it should be erected in a suitable location 
on the trail it commemorates. For example, the Kurt 
Diederich commemorative plaque should be reinstalled 
on Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16) at its original location 
if known; otherwise, it should be placed in a suitable 
place on the trail. 

As stated in the Hiking Trails Management Plan, deci- 
sions to reopen abandoned trails will be made inde- 
pendent of the existence of monuments. However, if 
an abandoned trail or trail segment is reopened, every 
effort should be made to follow the historic route to 
access associated monuments. 

2. Agreement of Trail Names and Monument 

Issue: Currently some trail names no longer corre- 
spond to their associated monuments. 


Chapter 10: Monuments and associated Structures; A. Monuments 

Treatment Guidelines: Maintained trails associated 
with monuments are to be restored to their historic 
names, thereby bringing them into agreement with 
monument text (see Chapter 9, Section G). 

An exception to this guideline is the Van Santvoord 
Trail (#450). Most of this route is abandoned and the 
section that contains the commemorative plaque is now 
maintained as part of the Pemetic Mountain Trail (#31). 
To avoid hiker confusion, the trail will retain its current 
name and the plaque will not be removed. An inter- 
pretive marker should be added to the trail to inform 
hikers of the trail's history and the reason for the name 

3. Documentation 

Issue: Other than photographs, the park has no physi- 
cal record of the individual design of the commemora- 
tive plaques and carved stones. If one were stolen, it 
would be extremely difficult to accurately replace. 

Treatment Guidelines: Commemorative plaques 
and engraved stones associated with the trail system 
should be thoroughly documented. A project should be 
developed to update the existing documentation with 
additional information such as rubbings of the bronze 
plaques and/or measured drawings of the monuments. 
A monument specialist should be consulted to scope 
the project and determine what documentation would 
be adequate to replace these features if they were lost. 

authorized by Congress or approved by the Director 
(36 CFR2.62). The consultation process required by 
Section 106 of National Historic Preservation Act must 
be completed before the Director will make a decision 
to approve a commemorative work. 53 

If the addition of new monuments is approved, they 
should be either commemorative plaques or engraved 
stones. Their placement, scale, and text should be 
compatible with existing monuments. A new style of 
monument should not be added to the system. New 
monuments should only be placed at appropriate loca- 
tions along the trail, such as trailheads or prominent 
natural features. Documentation of existing monu- 
ments will identify the historic patterns of monument 
placement throughout the system and should be used 
as a general guideline for determining the placement of 
new monuments. 


Specifications for the fabrication of new monuments 
will be developed on a case-by-case basis. The size of 
the monuments, as well as the layout, font, and sizing 
of text should be compatible with the existing collec- 
tion of commemorative plaques and engraved stones. 
Appropriate specifications should be developed as part 
of a system-wide monument documentation project. 

4. Addition of Monuments 

Issue: Although the Hiking Trails Management Plan 
allows for the possible addition of monuments to the 
trail system through "careful consideration" and adher- 
ence to applicable NPS management policies, the addi- 
tion of incompatible new monuments could adversely 
affect the historic trail system. 52 

Treatment Guidelines: The standard for the addition 
of new monuments to national parks is high. NPS man- 
agement policies state: 

Outside the District of Columbia and its environs 
commemorative works will not be established unless 


1. Commemorative Plaques 

Bronze plaques should be cleaned and waxed annually 
to protect them from oxidation. The best time is in July 
or August because the plaque must be warm to absorb 
the wax; otherwise a torch must be used to warm the 
plaque. The plaque is cleaned with Orvis Paste (Univer- 
sity Products, Inc. cat. #963-1000, tel. 800-628-1912). 
Then wash with Stoddard's Solvent, using 100- 
percent-cotton diapers, not rags. All environmental 
and personal safety precautions must be followed. It 
is important to remove salts, bird droppings, and tree 
saps that promote and accelerate corrosion. Use plastic 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

or natural brushes, not wire. Rinse well with clear 
water. The plaque must dry completely so moisture 
is not locked in. The plaque is waxed with Butcher's 
Bowling Alley Clear Wax, buffed, rewaxed and buffed 
again. The Butcher's wax must be the Clear variety, not 
the Orange variety. The plaque should be profession- 
ally cleaned on a ten-year schedule using Incralex, a 
powerful solvent, after which the annual cleaning and 
waxing can be resumed by trails personnel. Acid rain 
or excessive touching can cause the wax to break down 
and oxidation or "greening" to occur at an accelerated 
rate, in which case professional cleaning may be needed 
at an earlier date than scheduled. 



An associated structure includes any constructed 
feature that provides the hiker comfort, rest, or an 
opportunity to appreciate the surrounding landscape. 
Examples include benches, shelters, picnic facilities, 
and observation towers. 


Note: Consult a bronze or monument specialist to find 
acceptable alternatives to the products listed above if 
these are not available. 

2. Engraved Stones 

Periodically, lichen should be removed from the faces 
of engraved stones with a wire brush. Engraved stone 
can also be washed with the Orvis Paste (see above). 
Lichens can be scrubbed with a vegetable brush. 
Sometimes they are seated deep within in the stone and 
can crumble the stone as they grow, so do not be too 
aggressive on compromised stone. As above, follow 
environmental and safety precautions. 

Note: These instructions are sufficient for routine 
maintenance. Fungicidal preparations or pressure- 
washing may be required for seriously infected stones, 
but should be done only by trained conservators. 

Note: Research to date has uncovered limited infor- 
mation on the location, design, and construction of 
associated structures. Thus, this history is based on 
fragments of information from annual reports, historic 
photographs, and historical precedents from compa- 
rable sites. For example, the construction of gazebos 
and towers was undertaken throughout the Catskills 
resort areas in eastern New York State during the same 
historical period as the early work at Acadia. Therefore, 
it is likely that the early rusticators on Mount Desert 
would have followed this example. 


Comfortable seating has been a part of the hiking expe- 
rience on Mount Desert Island as early as the 1870s 
when rustic structures with shade roofs and seats were 
built on the island and benches placed in the landscape. 
Private landowners constructed these structures in the 
"picturesque" style, a style promoted by landscape gar- 
dener, Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-52), who wrote 
the widely read Treatise on the Theory and Practice of 
Landscape Gardening. Downing advocated the use of 
native materials, particularly woodwork. He believed 
that manmade rustic features, such as bridges, steps, 
seats, and shelters, enhanced one's comfort and enjoy- 
ment in natural surroundings, while adding to the pic- 
turesque scene. Unfortunately, such delicate wooden 
structures could not withstand Maine's harsh climate 
and were soon gone (Fig. 10-23, also Fig. 10-1). 


Chapter 10: monuments and associated Structures; B. Associated structures 

Village Improvement Associations/Societies 

The first annual report of the Bar Harbor VIA describes 
a proposal to add benches or "seats" to the Duck 
Brook Path (#311) "where the pedestrian might sit and 
rest himself." As the path system expanded, seating 
areas were proposed throughout. However, it is not 
clear how many benches were added to the trails, and 
photographic documentation is scant. Photographs of 
the Jesup Path (#14) in 1916 show a bench in the back- 
ground (Figs. 10-24 & 10-25). "Seats" were also placed 
along paths in the Seal Harbor district as described by 
the path committee chairman in 1939 on the Seaside 
Path (#401) and in 1941 along Hunters Brook Trail (#35 
and #455) and Jordan Stream Path (#65). In 1942 the 
Seal Harbor VIS also placed benches on Little Hunt- 
ers Brook Path (#438), at Champlain Monument (then 
located at the southern end of #453), Barr Hill Lookout 
(summit of #403 and #404), and on the Jordan Pond 
Path (#39). A 1907 photograph shows a Seal Harbor 
hiking group possibly sitting on a bench on an undeter- 
mined trail (Fig. 10-26). No other photographs have 
been found to further document this. The Northeast 
Harbor VIS also constructed benches along the trails, 
and continues to do so (Fig. 10-27). The majority of 
historic photographs portray hikers sitting on the 
existing boulders and ledges rather than constructed 




/ • ^ "■5S 

..\H^k jH 

"" -nJ 

: ' : *ri£'"-~- *£& ~ : 

. ■ 

Fig. 10-24 George Dorr and Mr. and Mrs. Drury on Jesup Path 
bench near Sieur de Monts Spring. 


8 " 

Fig. 10-25 Bench on the Jesup Path (#14), circa 1916. 

Fig. 10-23 Rustic bench near Bar Harbor no longer present, 
photographed in circa 1870s. 

Fig. 10-26 Ladies resting, possibly on a bench, on an unknown 
trail in Seal Harbor in 1907. 



benches, suggesting that benches were probably never 
widespread throughout the trail system. 

None of the early wooden benches are extant in the 
park. Along with their natural tendency to deteriorate, 
vandalism of benches was also an issue. In 1938 the co- 
chair of the path committee reported, 

On the Gurnee Path last year, you may remember that 
three dainty little seats placed on the path through the 
kindness of Miss Gurnee, were carried off bodily by 
some of our light-fingered "tripper visitors." Instruc- 
tions were given to Mr. Dunbar, our worker, to make 
a very heavy substantial bench for this path. This was 
done, a heavy rustic bench built, which was heavily pro- 
tected by large stones. I am happy to be able to report 
that this bench is still there! 54 

Two existing stone benches may date to the VIA/VIS 
period. The first is a memorial bench located on the 
shore of Jordan Pond on the Jordan Pond Nature Trail 
(#45), approximately 50 feet south of the boat launch- 
ing area (Fig. 10-28). While the commemorative plaque 
on the bench is typical of those placed by the VIA/ VIS, 
no documentation has been found in the annual reports 
of the Bar Harbor VIA or Seal Harbor VIS to document 
the bench's construction. The second bench sits along 
the Penobsot Mountain Trail (#47) on the first bluffs 
west of and overlooking Jordan Pond. The location and 
orientation of this large rectangular block suggest it was 
more than likely arranged as a stone bench. 

Other benches were likely present on other VIA/VIS 
trails, although documentation is circumstantial. 
Evidence of a stone bench has been discovered on the 
Champlain Mountain East Face Trail (#12). The Acadia 

Fig. 10-27 This log bench on the Lower Hadlock Trail (#502), was 
constructed in the 1980s by the Northeast Harbor VIS. 




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Fig. 10-28 This stone memorial bench located on the Jordan Pond 
Nature Trail (#45) is dedicated to Sarah Cushing. 

Fig. 10-29 Historic view of the Sieur de Monts Spring House near 
the Emery Path (#15) trailhead, circa 1920. 


Chapter 10: monuments and associated Structures; B. Associated Structures 

Trail Inventory documents that on section two of the 
trail, at 852 feet, in the "widest area of walkway, there 
used to be a stone bench (top is still there)." However, 
the historic bench is missing, and a new bench has been 
added as a replacement. Additionally, there are two 
curious spots on the Emery Path (#15) where benches 
may have been located. They are constructed flat areas 
approximately 200 and 400 square feet in size adjacent 
to the main trail. They provide excellent locations for 
scenic overlooks and it would be difficult to conceive 
benches had not been placed at these spots by the trail 

In addition to benches, many buildings and shelters 
offering seating, cover, and refreshments were scat- 
tered throughout the trail system during the VIA/VIS 
period. Examples included the Sieur de Monts Spring 
House, the Kebo Golf Club, the Building of the Arts, 

Fig. 10-30 Satterlee's Tea House on Great Head, 1961. 

Harbor. Mc 

Fig. 10-31 Detail view of Satterlee's Tea House on Great Head, 
circa 1920. 

the Green Mountain House, the Jordan Pond House, 
the Russian Tea House, Satterlee's Tea House, the 
Seaside Inn, and the Asticou Inn (Figs. 10-29 to 10-31). 
Other, more rustic shelters were also constructed, 
including a map house at the western end of the Asti- 
cou Trail (#49) (see Chapter 9, Fig. 9-51) , shelters along 
the trail to the Thuja Lodge overlooking Northeast 
Harbor (Fig. 10-32), and a "rustic summer-house built 
by Mr. Kaighn" on the Bernard Mountain Trail (#111). 55 
This summer house built by a family that frequented 
Southwest Harbor was mentioned in both the 1915 and 
1928 Path Guides, and currently five iron pins remain in 
the ledge just south of the Bernard Mountain summit 
where it likely stood. The VIA/VIS did not construct 
any towers in association with the trail system. 

Civilian Conservation Corps 

During the CCC period of construction, there is no 
documentation for the addition of individual benches 
to the trail system. Instead, CCC documentation 
recounts the construction of recreation and picnic 
areas such as the Bear Brook, Pretty Marsh, Pine Hill, 
and Oak Hill picnic areas and the Echo Lake swimming 
area. These areas included outlook structures, picnic 
tables, and fire pits. Trails were built to connect these 
areas with the existing trail system. 

The CCC did issue generic specifications for bench 
construction, although it is unknown if they were used 
at Acadia. The specifications are documented in the 
second volume of Albert Good's Park and Recreation 
Structures (1938), which includes a chapter on "Trail- 
side Seats, Shelters, and Overlooks." Good writes: 

Seats along trails affording hikers a place to rest after a 
particularly difficult climb or to contemplate a fine view 
or an object of interest are very properly of much more 
informal character than the seating provided where use 
is more concentrated. If it is to be effectively natural- 
ized, it must appear casual and unforced, free of the 
appearance of being too cumbersome and elaborately 
devised. Natural objects or formations may be utilized, 
within the limits of reason, as resting places along the 
trail. Ledges of stone, boulders, or down logs, with slight 


Acadia trails Treatment Plan 

adaptations, provide trailside seating without the intro- 
duction of foreign elements. 56 

Although no CCC benches are extant in the park, a 
bench installed by the NPS in the 1990s is similar in 
style to CCC benches described in Park and Recreation 
Structures. It is located on the Penobscot East Trail 
(#50) at Sargent Mountain Pond (Figs. 10-33 & 10-34). 

In the second volume of Park and Recreation Structures, 
Good describes the desired characteristics of trailside 
shelters and overlook structures as having "an ingrati- 
ating lack of pretentiousness." 57 Of the CCC outlook 
shelters built on Mount Desert Island, only those at 
Pretty Marsh remain, though the viewshed and the 
associated trail are now overgrown. At Oak Hill, only 
the foundation of the shelter remains (Fig. 10-35). The 

CCC also constructed ranger cabins with trails on Ber- 
nard Mountain, McFarland Hill, and Youngs Moun- 
tain, but none of these structures are extant (Figs. 10-36 
& 10-37). However, there are still a few rotted logs, 
boards, and shingles at the Bernard Mountain site. 

Good describes favorable characteristics for both fire 
and observation towers. Regarding fire towers, he 

Adequate protection against lightning, high winds, 
and winter storms, and the factor of live load due to a 
concentration of visitors must be taken into account in 
designing the lookout. High towers must be provided 
with railings along the steps, platforms, and landings. 
It is possible by employing native rock or logs in the 
construction to achieve a certain harmony with the sur- 

Fig. 10-32 A rustic shelter at the Asticou Terraces in Northeast 
Harbor on the trail to the Thuja Lodge. 

Fig. 10-34 This log bench, installed by the NPS in the 1990s at 
the water's edge on the Penobscot East Trail (#50), is similar in 
construction to CCC-style benches. 

Fig. 10-33 This CCC log bench, with log supports on a stone 
base located in Camden State Park, Minnesota, is typical of the 
standard CCC bench style built at many sites across the country 
in the 1930s. 

Fig. 10-35 The picnic shelter shown in this 1937 photograph was 
constructed by the CCC at the Oak Hill picnic area. A trail led 
visitors from the parking area the site overlooking the marsh. 
Only the foundation of the structure remains. 


Chapter 10: monuments and associated Structures; B. Associated Structures 

roundings, especially if, when located on a rocky sum- 
mit, the structure is blended to it and made to appear to 
grow out of it. 

The CCC constructed a fire tower in this style on the 
summit of Bernard (Western) Mountain, which was 
used as a public observation tower (Fig. 10-38). A small 
fire tower was also constructed in 1941 approximately 
200 yards northeast of the Sargent Mountain summit. 
This structure is no longer extant, but there are rem- 
nants of wooden walls, shingles, a line of utility poles, 
and telephone cable on the site. 

NPS/Mission 66 

There is no documentation for bench or shelter 
construction during the Mission 66 period. Mis- 
sion 66 crews did replace the wooden fire tower on 
Beech Mountain with a modern steel tower sometime 
between 1960 and 1962. The western half of the Beech 
Mountain Loop Trail (#113) was constructed by Mis- 
sion 66 crews as an access route for the construction 
of this tower (Fig. 10-39). (The towers and trail are 
documented in Acadia's interpretive guide, "Beech 
Mountain Hike.") 


Fig. 10-36 Construction of a ranger cabin on McFarland Hill by 
the CCC in the 1930s. 

Fig. 10-38 This CCC fire tower on Bernard Mountain, 
photographed in 1936, was also used by many hikers as an 
observation tower. 

Fig. 10-37 A ranger cabin on Youngs Mountain shown in the 
1930s after construction by the CCC. 

Fig. 10-39 Located on the summit of Beech Mountain along 
the Beech Mountain Loop Trail (#113), this steel fire tower was 
constructed during the Mission 66 Program and is still extant. 


Acadia Trails treatment plan 

National Park Service 

Relatively few associated structures have been added to 
the trail system during the NPS period. In the 1960s, the 
NPS installed benches in the Wild Gardens of Acadia at 
Sieur de Monts Spring (Fig. 10-40). A more recent addi- 
tion, added by the Northeast Harbor VIS, is a garden 
bench on the Asticou Brook Trail (#514) in Northeast 
Harbor, outside of the park (Fig. 10-41). Due to a lack 
of documentation, it is difficult to assess whether these 
garden-style benches are out of character with VIA/ 
VIS-era benches. 

Examples of other associated structures added by the 
NPS include a privy on Beech Mountain Loop Trail 
(#113), and an observation platform and steps on the 
Bass Harbor Head Light Trail (#129). The construction 
of features like these provides both visitor comfort and 
safety. However, they generally do not complement the 
historic character of the trail system. These types of fea- 
tures have typically been generic in style and construc- 
tion and are often not representative of the historical 
precedents at Acadia (Figs. 10-42 & 10-43). 

^t&r^ : 

Fig. 10-41 This wooden, garden-style bench is located on the 
Asticou Brook Trail (#514) and was installed in the 1990s by the 
Northeast Harbor VIS. 

Fig. 10-40 Wooden benches like this were used in the Wild 
Gardens of Acadia during the 1960s. 

Fig. 10-43 Observation deck on the Bass Harbor Head Light Trail 
(#129) built in the 1990s. 


Chapter 10: Monuments and associated Structures; B. Associated Structures 


Based on the limited documentation available, it appears 
the historical character of associated structures has never 
been consistent but has changed during each of the 
historic periods. The result has been myriad styles ranging 
from the early picturesque benches, bridges, and shelters, 
to CCC features constructed to standardized specifica- 

Pre-VIA/VIS (pre-1890) 

Rustic wooden gazebos, bridges, and benches in the 
picturesque style, similar to those espoused by Andrew 
Jackson Downing, and erected in the Catskills resort 
areas, were used on several of the early trails. 

VIA/VIS Period (1890-1937) 

Varying styles of benches were used throughout the 
system including round logs (Jesup Path), granite (Jordan 
Pond), and split cedar log (Lower Hadlock Brook). Other 
structures remotely associated with the trail system were 
added, including the Jordan Pond House and the Sieur de 
Monts Spring House. 

CCC Period (1933-42) 

Some rustic wood and stone structures were added, 
primarily at new recreation areas like the various picnic 
grounds. Fire towers were also constructed. 

NPS/Mission 66 Period (1943-66) 

Benches were likely used on the trails, as there were old 
and rotted benches replaced at Great Notch and Bernard 
Mountain overlook in the early 1970s. However, the only 
documented addition was a steel fire tower on Beech 

NPS Period (1967-1997) 

An assortment of bench styles were used, including 
wooden garden style in developed areas. A few other 
associated structures, like observation decks, were added, 
typically in a generic style of construction. 


1. Maintaining Character 

Issue: There is poor documentation for many of the 
structures associated with the trail system. For exam- 
ple, specifications for the design and location of historic 
benches are often speculative. In places where the trail 
widens and there is an exceptional view, placement of 
a bench might be appropriate, but typically there is no 
documented evidence to verify if a bench was used his- 
torically by the VIA/VIS or CCC. This lack of informa- 
tion has resulted in the random placement of various 
bench styles throughout the trail system without unify- 
ing design standards. This haphazard approach had 
also applied to other features added to the system like 
observation decks and small structures. 

Treatment Guidelines: Given the lack of information, 
prudence is required when dealing with associated 

For benches, a comprehensive inventory of existing 
benches should be undertaken to identify any extant 
historic benches and aid in establishing design guide- 
lines for bench style and placement. The inventory 
should include VIA/VIS trails outside of the park as an 
additional source for information. Existing benches 
should not be removed until it can be determined 
whether they date to the historic period. Existing 
benches should be inspected to ensure they are struc- 
turally sound, and replaced in-kind if deteriorated 
beyond repair. If new benches are added to the trail 
system, they should be built in a rustic style with logs 
and/or stone, avoiding materials such as metal, recycled 
plastic, or pressure-treated wood in visible locations. 
Benches are easily removable and have less of a perma- 
nent impact on trail character. Therefore, new benches 
may be installed in locations where it is speculated a 
bench was placed historically. If evidence is later found 
to contradict this assumption, the bench can easily be 
removed. However, benches should not be installed in 
areas where there is no presumption of historical use. 

Other associated structures dating from the historic 
period should be maintained as contributing features 



to the integrity of the trail system. Examples include, 
but are not limited to, the map house on Eliot Moun- 
tain and the CCC shelters at Pretty Marsh, including 
maintenance of the viewshed and rehabilitation of the 
associated trail. Physical remnants of other structures 
should be documented and preserved. 

2. Vandalism 

Issue: Overlook spots, where hiking groups are likely 
to stop, are the most likely locations for rock throw- 
ing, bench tossing, or other acts of vandalism which 
threaten both visitor safety and resource protection. 

Treatment Guidelines: The threat of vandalism should 
not be a deterrent to installing and maintaining associ- 
ated structures. However, careful consideration should 
be given to the placement of features. For example, 
benches should not be located in remote locations, 
where there is increased risk of vandalism, and not 
every overlook is in need of a bench. To decrease the 
threat of removal by vandals, ways to anchor the bench 
to the ledgerock that are relatively inconspicuous 
should be explored, such as pinning or using chemical 


Specifications will vary for individual associated struc- 
tures according to type and should be developed on 
a case-by-case basis by appropriate park staff. Visitor 
safety and resource protection are primary consider- 
ations to examine when developing specifications for 
an associated structures. Local building codes may 
also need to be addressed for buildings and/or larger 


1. Regularly check all associated structures for decay 
and/or deterioration, and repair or replace pieces 
in-kind as needed. Wooden features should be 
routinely checked for splinters. 

2. The fire tower and other larger structures should 
be inspected regularly for safety. Major repairs 
may need consultation with structural engineers to 
develop appropriate specifications for work. 


3. Security of the Beech Mountain Fire Tower 

Issue: The Beech Mountain fire tower currently 
remains locked and unavailable for public use. This 
restricts the public's enjoyment of one of the larger 
structures historically associated with the trail system 
and also limits interpretive opportunities for the Beech 
Mountain Loop Trail (#113). 

Treatment Guidelines: It is recommended that the 
Beech Mountain fire tower be opened for public use. 
To determine the feasibility of implementing this 
recommendation, the park should to commission a 
study of the tower's structural integrity and identify the 
liability concerns involved with allowing public access. 

49 Monuments associated with the path system, with the excep- 
tion of the Jesup engraved stone monument, are documented in 
the 1990 Monument Inventory completed by park volunteers 
Charles and Virginia Edwards. Additional monuments are 
described in the inventory that are not part of the path system, 
including those for George Dorr, Atwater Kent Field, Satterlee 
Field, David McKinney, Gertrude and Fritz Engel, and John 
Moore, the Fabbri Monument, for Sargent Drive, and on Bar 

50 Bar Harbor Record, November 23, 1910, 3. 

51 National Park Service, Management Policies 2001 (United States 
Department of the Interior), section 9.6.4, 115. 

52 Hiking Trails Management Plan, 14. 

53 Management Policies, 2001, section 9.6.1, 114. 

54 Bar Harbor VIA 1938 Annual Report. 

55 Harold Peabody and Charles Grandgent, Walks on Mount Desert 
Island, 1928. 

56 Albert H. Good, Park and Recreation Structures (National Park 
Service, 1938), Vol. 2, 87. 

57 Good, Vol. 2, 8. 

58 Good, Vol. 2, 156. 


Acadia Youth Conservation Corps using a highline above the Jordan Pond Path (#39). 


Individual Trail 



Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


Section 2 provides treatment guidelines for 
individual trails, building on specific feature 
information presented in Section 1. Included are 
recommendations for five trails — the Schiff Path (#15), 
the Jordan Pond Path (#39), the Jordan Cliffs Trail 
(#48), the Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127), and the 
Homans Path (#349). 

As this document was under development, rehabilita- 
tion work was already in process or planned for these 
five trails. The Jordan Pond Path (#39) in particular 
underwent extensive rehabilitation concurrent with 
the development of this report. Field work provided an 
opportunity to test the guidelines and make necessary 
modifications to address trail conditions, staff availabil- 
ity, budget concerns, and other pertinent issues. Since 
rehabilitation remains underway on these five trails, it 
is anticipated the process of refining the guidelines will 
continue as each trail is addressed. 

Deadlines for completion of this report preceded com- 
pletion of trail rehabilitation. As rehabilitation of each 
trail is completed, actual trail conditions and guidelines 
used may be altered somewhat from the information 
currently presented in Section 2. As a result, Section 2 
as written is general in nature and is not presented as 
the definitive prescription for each trail. It is included 
primarily to illustrate the complete planning process for 
trail rehabilitation at Acadia, showing how the feature 
information from Section 1 can be applied to individual 
trail scenarios. Ideally, as trail work is completed and 
guidelines are refined, the written documentation 
should be updated to reflect any changes in trail plan- 
ning or implementation. 

Character: The specific character of the trail is ana- 
lyzed, including how this trail fits into the overall char- 
acter of the entire system. 

Features: Specific treatment guidelines are provided 
for each of the feature types that are present on this 
particular trail or may be appropriate for addition to 
the trail. This section relies heavily on the information 
provided in Section 1. For example, if a certain trail 
historically contained VIA/VIS bridges, the treatment 
guidelines for bridges will likely say any new bridge 
work must be compatible with the VIA/VIS style. For a 
description of the VIA/VIS style and specifications for 
building compatible bridges, the reader should refer 
back to Section 1, Chapter 5, where VIS/VIS bridges are 
discussed in greater detail. 

Routine Maintenance: Information is provided here 
only for specific maintenance concerns for the individ- 
ual trail that must be addressed to preserve its historic 
character. This information will not be provided for 
all of Acadia's trails, as general maintenance for each 
feature type is addressed in Section 1. 

In Section 2, the following information is provided for 
each of the five included trails: 

History: The historical development of the trail is dis- 
cussed, including the original builders and any docu- 
mented modifications to the trail during later eras. 


Section 2: individual Trail Specifications 

Fig. 15-1 Circa 1920s view of the Schiff Path. 






The Schiff Path has withstood nearly eighty years 
of heavy use with relatively little maintenance. 
The trail traverses the upper slope of Dorr 
Mountain to the summit, acting as an extension of the 
Emery Path (#15). Currently, both the Schiff Path and 
the Emery Path are marked as the Dorr Mountain East 
Face Trail (#15) (Figs. 15-1 & 15-2). 

Most of the tread is highly constructed with stone 
paving, steps, and capstone culverts. Some sections are 
eroded and steps are slipping. Built features need to be 
reset or repaired to ensure that extensive damage does 
not occur. 


• Reopen closed culverts. 

• Repair drainage on sections where no longer func- 

• Repair eroded sections, particularly where steps 
are loose or slipping. 

• Inspect and replace ironwork as needed. 


Beginning in 1913, George Dorr directed the develop- 
ment of a network of memorial paths radiating from 
Sieur de Monts Spring. Dorr envisioned the Sieur de 
Monts area as the center of a reservation of protected 
lands, with paths connecting to Bar Harbor and the sur- 
rounding mountains. Dorr was able to raise funds for 
trail construction as an active member of the Bar Har- 
bor VIA Path Committee, the Hancock County Trustees 
of Public Reservations, as well as the founder of his own 
philanthropic organization, the Wild Gardens of Acadia 
Corporation. By the time the reservation was desig- 
nated Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916, with 
Dorr as Superintendent, most of the memorial trails 
were partially or fully completed, including the Kane 
Path (#17), Beachcroft Path (#13), Kurt Diederich's 
Climb (#16), Homans Path (#349), Emery Path (#15), 
and Jesup Path (#14). The Schiff Path was the last addi- 
tion to the Sieur de Monts memorial paths and, like the 
others, was highly crafted with extensive stonework and 

To Kebo Mtn. 

To Cadillac 

Dorr X 

North Ridge 
Dorr Mountain 

I South Ridge Dorr 
^ Mountain 

Not to Scale North 


□ Nature Center 

O Spring & Gazebo 

To Rt. 3 & 



Ladder Trail 

Fig. 15-2 Sections #1 and #2 of the Schiff Path (#15). 


Section 2; #15. Schiff Path 

As early as 1915, a path from Sieur de Monts Crag to the 
summit of Dry [Dorr] Mountain was anticipated; how- 
ever, construction had been delayed for several years. 
Circa 1921, Superintendent Dorr negotiated with the 
Bar Harbor VIA to take over care of the trails on Cham- 
plain and Dry [Dorr] Mountains. Construction of the 
Schiff Path is not mentioned in Bar Harbor VIA annual 
reports, thus it may have been carried out by the NPS in 
the early 1920s rather than by the VIA. The Schiff Path 
first appears on the 1926 path map. The path is drawn 
fairly inaccurately, as it does not show its close proxim- 
ity and connection to the Ladder Trail (#64). The 1928 
path guide described the Schiff Path and the connector 
to the Ladder Trail (#64), with special mention of the 
views to The Tarn, Otter Creek Gorge, and the steep, 
wooded west slope of Picket Mountain [Huguenot 
Head]. The connection between the two trails is shown 
on NPS maps prepared in the 1940s. 

The path is named for Jacob Schiff (1847-1920), a 
businessman and philanthropist who contributed 
generously to the Bar Harbor VIA Path Committee. He 
joined the Bar Harbor VIA in about 1902 became a life 
member in 1908, and donated funds annually towards 
the upkeep of the path system. His wife was listed as a 
contributor in the VIA records through 1925. 

In the 1930s the CCC rehabilitated some of the Dorr 
Mountain trails. While only the Emery Path (#15) and 
the Ladder Trail (#64) were mentioned specifically in 
CCC records, work on the "system" of Dorr Mountain 
trails was mentioned and it is likely this included the 
Schiff Path. Work documented in the area included 
adding stone pavement, stepping stones, steps, guard- 
rails, and some rerouting of paths. 

At this time the Emery Path/Schiff Path was one of the 
most popular hikes in the park and was commonly used 
for ranger-led walks. This continues to the present, 
since the steps allow for hikers of varying abilities. 

In the early 1950s, many park trails were closed if they 
paralleled another route, led to private land, were sel- 
dom used, or were costly to maintain. The Upper Lad- 
der Trail (#334) was both parallel to the Schiff Path and 

costly to maintain, and was closed around 1952. During 
this period, the total 1.6 miles of the Schiff and Emery 
Paths was renamed the Schiff-Emery Trail. By the late 
1950s the trail was called the Dorr Mountain Trail, and 
later renamed the Dorr Mountain East Face Trail (#15). 

In 1981, 3.5 miles of Acadia's trails, including the Dorr 
Mountain Trail East Face Trail (#15), were designated 
National Recreation Trails under the National Trails 
System Act. This designation has been given to approx- 
imately 800 trails across the country. 

Fig. 15-3 Lower end of Schiff Path (right) at intersection with 
Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16) to the left and Emery Path (#15) in 
the foreground. 

Fig. 15-4 The trail winds across ledges and past several large 
boulders. Squeezing hikers through narrow passageways, like 
this one, was a common design feature used on similar Dorr 
trails including the Homans Path (#349) and Ladder Trail (#64). 


Acadia trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 15-5 Gravel surface has washed away, exposing rubble base. 

Fig. 15-6 The same view in 2001 as Fig. 5-1 in the 1920s, but with 
gravel surface washed away. 

:*.,' ■jff 

i£ "£V 



1 i.j 


' •^■I^S^^feLsaBii 


• • 

Fig. 15-7 Stone paved trail in good condition. 

Fig. 15-8 Stone paved path with some erosion. 




The Schiff Path connects four trails on the east face of 
Dorr Mountain to the summit, including the Ladder 
Trail (#64), Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16), the Emery 
Path (#15), and the Homans Path (#349) (Fig. 15-3). 
The trail was constructed as part of the memorial path 
system radiating from Sieur de Monts Spring. Named 
in memory of Jacob Schiff, there is little documenta- 
tion about the naming and no record of an associated 
endowment as with other memorial trails from the 
same period. The trail has extensive built features 
including steps, iron-pinned retaining walls, stone 
pavement, and capstone culverts. Though well- 
armored by its durable construction, the trail is heavily 
used and is eroded in sections. Most of the gravel sur- 
face has been lost, exposing the rock rubble base. Many 
closed culverts are either partially collapsed, filled, or 
no longer effective. The trail requires thorough reha- 
bilitation to ensure that built features are not damaged. 


For detailed treatment guidelines and specifications for 
each feature, refer to Section 1, Chapters 1 through 10. 

1. Route 

The Schiff Path begins at the intersection of the Emery 
Path (#15) and Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16) at Sieur de 
Monts Crag. It travels southward along the side of Dorr 
Mountain to intersect with the Ladder Trail (#64), then 
turns westward, and ascends over ledge to the summit 
by a series of long, winding switchbacks along ledges 
and through boulders. This route is the original design 
of the trail and should be maintained (Fig. 15-4). 

2. Vegetation 

The Schiff Path travels through sparse upland woods, 
pines, and dense alpine shrubs. The area was burned in 
the 1947 fire; thus most trees are young, and birch and 
maple trees dominate. On the upper half of the trail, 
vegetation is low, allowing for exceptional views of the 
valley and surrounding mountains. Minimal man- 

agement of vegetation is needed. The trail should be 
brushed every three to five years. 

3. Treadway 

A. Bench Cut: The lower half of the trail travels along 
the natural bench formed by Sieur de Monts Crag. 
It is likely that bench cuts were made at the time 
of construction. The tread was then armored with 
stone wall and pavement or gravel over rubble. In 
most cases these bench cuts do not require further 
maintenance, except to maintain the closed cul- 
verts under the path. 

B. Causeway: None. 

C. Gravel Tread: Many sections of trail were once 
surfaced with soil and gravel over rock rubble. 
Most of this gravel has washed away (Figs. 15-5 & 
Fig. 15-6, compare with Fig. 15-1). Because this is 
a highly crafted memorial trail, imported crushed 
stone and gravel would diminish the historical 
character of the trail. Borrowing enough gravel and 
soil to resurface all sections may be difficult and 
not sustainable. Thus, rock rubble may continue 
to be the surface for many sections. These sec- 
tions can be repaired with stone pavement similar 
in appearance to other sections of trail. In places 
where gravel surface remains, drainage should 

be repaired or maintained to prevent erosion of 
remaining material. 

D. Stone Pavement: The trail contains long sec- 
tions of stone pavement that provide durable and 
comfortable walking tread (Figs. 15-7 to 15-10). In 
some locations erosion and/or loss of stone pave- 
ment has occurred, possibly because of a broken 
or clogged culvert nearby. Culverts associated with 
stone pavement should be repaired and stepstones 
reset. Compatible new stone pavement may be 
added to highly eroded sections of trail. 

E. Unconstructed Tread: There is very little uncon- 
structed tread along the trail. Near the summit 
there are fewer built features and the trail travels 
along open ledge. Where there is erosion, built 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 15-9 Stone paved trail with capstone culvert in good 

Fig. 15-10 Stone paved trail and steps in good condition. 

Fig. 15-11 Massive capstone culvert. 


Section 2; #15. Schiff Path 

features should be added in character with the trail. 
Sections across ledge should be clearly marked to 
keep hikers from wandering off the trail. 

4. Drainage 

A. Culverts: The trail contains extensive culverts. 
These include capstone culverts and graveled-over 
culverts that have lost their gravel. Many culverts 
need to be rebuilt or cleaned out. Culverts should 
be rebuilt with the same stones if possible and in 
the style of historic closed culverts on the trail (Fig. 

Some coping stones have slipped and need to be 
reset (Figs. 15-14 & 15-15). Extant coping should 
be retained. Where coping is slipping along ledge, 
concealed pins may be added. Compatible new 
coping may be added as needed. 

C. Retaining Walls: The Schiff Path contains almost 
2,000 linear feet of retaining wall. Wall height 
ranges from 1 to 6 feet. Most of the wall is in good 
condition (Fig. 15-16). Damaged sections should be 
repaired or reset and compatible new sections may 
be added as needed. 

B. Subsurface Drains: None. 

C. Side Drains: There is some evidence of side drains. 
Extant side drains should be rehabilitated in con- 
junction with closed culverts, but installation of 
new side drains should be avoided. 

D. Water Bars: None. Bars should not be added. 

E. Water Dips: None. Dips may be added as needed. 

5. Crossings 


6. Retaining Structures 

A. Checks: Erosion is a problem in several sections of 
trail. Checks may be added to fill gullied sections 
and redirect water off of the treadway. Since the 
Schiff Path is a highly crafted memorial trail, stones 
used for checks should be gathered locally, as well 
as rubble and gravel fill. Use of checks should be 
limited so as not to detract from historical charac- 
ter. Some eroded sections are better repaired with 
the addition of steps, particularly if remnants of 
steps are apparent (Figs. 15-12 & 15-13). 

B. Coping Stones: There are extensive sections of 
coping wall along the trail, built in association with 
retaining walls and steps. Some coping wall may 
have originally been sidewall, but a loss of surface 
material has exposed the stones. In some places, 
coping stones are holding water on the tread. 

7. Steps 

Like other memorial trails, the Schiff Path ascends the 
mountainside with staircases of stone. There are about 
350 steps of various styles. Some are placed through 
boulder fields. Most are built in association with retain- 
ing walls and stone pavement (Fig. 15-18). And, most are 
slab laid and cut (Fig. 15-19). Some are set behind, but 
in some cases this may be a result of slipping. Some are 
placed with drill marks visible. Many sections alternate 
between stone steps and stone paving. One step is cut 
out of ledge (Fig. 15-20). In several places, extensive 
erosion is undermining the bottom step of a staircase, 
thus jeopardizing the structural stability of the entire 
run. All steps that have slipped should be reset and 
secured with extant coping stones. Sources of erosion 
should be corrected by the construction of closed cul- 
verts or other appropriate drainage solutions. Eroded 
sections (see Fig. 15-13) should be repaired using steps, 
stone pavement, or checks. 

8. Ironwork 

There are two trail sections with iron. Iron is used to 
pin rubble retaining walls along the first 600 feet of 
trail (lower end). About 600 feet beyond is another 
section of iron used to anchor wall and steps (Fig. 
15-21). Extant ironwork should be replaced as needed. 
Additional iron may be added to sections of the trail 
where it is currently extant, but excessive use of new 
iron should be avoided. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 15-12 Eroded upper trail. 

Fig. 15-13 Eroded section with collapsed steps that need to be 

Fig. 15-14 Low coping wall holding water on tread. 

Fig. 15-15 Very large coping stones are used along this area of 
exposed ledge rock to retain the tread. Some of the stones have 


Section 2; #15. Schiff Path 

Fig. 15-16 Retaining wall at lower end of trail. 

Fig. 15-19 Slab-laid steps. 

Fig. 15-17 Stone steps with coping, some steps and coping 
stones have slipped. 


Fig. 15-20 Step cut out of ledge. 

Fig. 15-21 Iron pins securing stone in retaining wall. 

Fig. 15-18 Stone steps with coping stones and retaining wall 


Acadia trails Treatment plan 

9. Guidance 

A. Blazes: For most of the trail, steps and walls serve 
as guidance, a technique employed by the VIA/VIS 
path committees from the 1890s onward. Blazes 
should only be used in the upper section of the 
trail, where it travels over open ledge. 

B. Cairns: Like blazes, Bates-style or stacked cairns 
should only be used in the last upper section of the 
trail over open ledge to keep hikers on the route. 

C. Directional Signs: Intersection signs are needed 
at both ends of the trail and in the middle, at the 
intersection with the Ladder Trail (#64). 

D. Informational Signs: None. 

E. Scree: None. Scree is not appropriate for this his- 
toric highly crafted memorial trail. 

F. Trail Name: The Schiff Path and Emery Path are 
currently referred to as the Dorr Mountain East 
Face Trail (#15). As historically significant memo- 
rial trails, the trail names should revert to the Schiff 
Path and Emery Path. Ideally the Schiff Path would 
also be assigned a different trail number, to reduce 
confusion when documenting features and work 
performed on each trail. 

10. Monuments and Associated Structures 

As a memorial path, the Schiff Path is one of the few 
that has no associated monument or commemorative 
plaque. It is also one of the least documented memo- 
rial trails. Further research in local newspapers from 
the late 1910s and early 1920s or the writings of George 
Dorr may reveal more information. No additional 
monuments or associated structures should be added 
to this trail. 


Section 2: individual Trail Specifications 

Fig. 39-1 Corduroy bridge built in 2004 on the Jordan Pond Path near the Jordan Pond Carry Path. 






For over 100 years, the Jordan Pond Path has 
been one of the most heavily traveled walking 
paths on Mount Desert Island. Located in the 
pristine interior, along the reflective shores of Jordan 
Pond and leading to the Jordan Pond House, the trail 
offers a leisurely stroll for all generations (Figs. 39-1 & 
39-2). The trail has suffered, however, from this heavy 
use. Erosion, compaction, widening, and exposed 
roots have created an unattractive and undesirable trail. 
Rehabilitation work must preserve the character of this 
late-nineteenth-century trail but also provide a durable 


• Restore the tradition of an easy, mildly graded hike 
around Jordan Pond. 

• Protect all adjacent natural resources. 

• Restore the historic surface of gravel tread or stone 

• Rehabilitate extant features or construct new 
historically accurate features to ensure the durabil- 
ity of the trail surface. These 
include stone sidewalls, stone 
checks, side drains, culverts, 
coping, and bridges. 

• Restore the trail to its original 
route, width, height, and grade. 

• Revegetate scars caused by trail 
braiding and widening. 

• Determine the trail's official 

pond. Constructed circa 1890, it is first documented in 
the 1896 Bar Harbor VIA annual report as "the old path 
on the west side of Eagle Lake and Jordan Pond." The 
path on the eastern side of the pond may have been cut 
in 1896 as part of a path to connect Bar Harbor with the 
Jordan Pond House: 

...a particularly good path having been run from the 
Jordan Pond House on the east side of Jordan Pond, 
through the old carry, and on the south end of Eagle 
Lake and west slope of Green Mountain, coming out 
at the toll gate on the Green Mountain carriage road. 
This path as been especially protected and cut under the 
direction of the map committee. 11 

The north section was cut two years later. 

Since the date of the last report, a new path has been 
made under the Bubbles, along the northern edge of 
Jordan Pond, and connecting the paths on the eastern 
and western sides of the pond. 12 


The Jordan Pond Path extends from 
the Jordan Pond House around the 
pond along the shore. The trail con- 
sists of several sections dating to the 
late 1800s. The oldest documented 
section is on the western side of the 

Deer Brook 

To Sargent 
& Penobscot 




Jordan Pond 
Carry Path 

Pond Trail 


; 3] Jordan Pond House 

Not to Scale 

Fig. 39-2 Jordan Pond Path (#39). 


Section 2; #39. Jordan Pond Path 

At the outlet of the pond by the Jordan Pond House, a 
bridge was built by the Seal Harbor VIS Path commit- 
tee, possibly with assistance from the Bar Harbor VIA 
and Waldron Bates. The trail was also shown on the 
1896 path map (Fig. 39-3). 

In the early 1920s the east and west sides were rebuilt 
and surfaced with fine gravel as recorded by Joseph 
Allen, Path Committee Chairman for Seal Harbor: 

The Committee is glad to report that with the cordial 
assistance of Mr. Dorr, Curator of the National Park, this 
path has been largely rebuilt, and made into one of the 
easiest and most delightful on the Island, especially for 
visitors who are unable to climb. 15 

With the cooperation of Acadia National Park, work 
begun last season on the west side of Jordan Pond has 
been continued. The circuit of the pond can now be 
made with reasonable easy footing all the way. 14 

A circa 1920s photograph shows stepping stones, or 
a stone causeway, across the southeastern inlet to the 
pond (Fig. 39-4). Another 1920s photograph shows the 
3-foot-wide trail located adjacent to the pond shoreline, 
newly surfaced with fine gravel tread (Fig. 39-5). 

In 1937 the west side was improved by the CCC as 
described by the park's landscape architect B. L. Breeze: 
"Jordan Pond Trail. ..reconstruction of minor bridges, 
removal of rock slides, construction of shore sections 
of realigned trail." 15 By the 1940s there was an extensive 
network of trails connecting to the Jordan Pond Path as 
shown on the 1941 path map (Fig. 39-6). 

The 1950 Seal Harbor Annual Report mentions the 
erection of "a memorial tablet to Joseph Allen for 
thirty-one years chairman of this Committee. To him 
we owe a lasting debt for the building of several of our 
finest trails and for his devoted and effective concern in 
the preservation of the natural beauty of Mount Desert 
Island." The commemorative plaque is located on a 
granite boulder at the water's edge at the intersection 
of the Jordan Pond Trail and the Jordan Pond Carry 
Path (#38), facing northeast (Fig. 39-7). The inscription 

Lover of rocks and high places, builder of trails, con- 
serve of natural beauty, Joseph Allen, Chairman, Seal 
Harbor Path Committee, 1914- 945. 

Another memorial along the trail, that most likely 
predates the Allen memorial, is a granite bench and 
commemorative plaque with the following inscription 
(Fig. 39-8): 

In grateful loving memory of Sarah Eliza Sigourney 
Cushing, Wife of Edward Tuckerman, 1832-1915, She 
dearly loved this spot. 

'^argent Mt. 

I more BerisPk. 
PR. / 

i V/Y,/,,-/ I 

: J ord'an M*^"^ 

//So • , 

j?L Palls / 


Cedkp-.. Swamp 

Vo/k- J&t- """"■ 

/w T J (South End/ 

Fig. 39-3 Portion of the 1896 path map by the VIA/VIS showing 
the trails on the south, east and west sides of the pond (north is 

Fig 39-3 An early photograph of the stone causeway, ca. 1920. 



Fig. 39-9 This wooden bridge was constructed in 1983 and 
reinstalled on wooden crib piers in 1987. 

Fig. 39-6 Portion of the 1941 path map by the VIA/VIS showing 
trails leading to, from, and around Jordan Pond (north is up). 


Section 2; #39. Jordan Pond Path 

The Seal Harbor VIS continued to maintain the trail to 
some extent. In the early 1950s, the trail was cleared all 
around the pond and three new bridges were con- 
structed. 16 By the 1970s, NPS took over maintenance of 
the trail. Youth Conservation Corps crews built wooden 
walkways that were unsuccessful and dismantled in the 
1980s. NPS crews rebuilt bridges on the east and west 
sides in the 1970s and again in the 1980s. A bridge at the 
western end of the pond had washed away a couple of 
times, so in 1987 it was reconstructed on wooden crib 
piers. The bridge currently remains intact (Fig. 39-9). In 
1988 bogwalk was introduced to the trail, with further 
additions in the early 1990s. Despite these repairs, the 
tread continued to erode due to high use, insufficient 
drainage, and little maintenance (Fig. 39-10). In 1991, 
various signs were installed for visitor safety, including 
some warning "Caution: Trail Becomes Difficult." Even 
with a massive rehabilitation of the western side in 1993, 
the tread was heavily eroded and unpleasantly difficult 
(Figs. 39-11 to 39-13). In 1997, a rehabilitation of greater 
magnitude began as the kickoff for the Acadia Trails 
Forever campaign. Work continues to return the trail 
to its historic condition of "one of the easiest and most 
delightful on the Island." 


The 3.2-mile Jordan Pond Path circles around the entire 
pond within 10 to 40 feet of the water's edge. It is a level 
route providing attractive views of the water and sur- 
rounding mountain cliffs. The primary trailhead is the 
Jordan Pond House, with two less-frequented trailheads 
along the park motor road. The trail intersects with five 
other marked trails as it loops around the pond. By the 
Jordan Pond House, the trail passes through an open 
meadow, cleared to allow views from the restaurant 
to the pond. The trail crosses streams, wetlands, and 
talus slopes and contains many built features including 
bridges, bog walks, causeways, stepping stones, talus 
pavement, and two memorial tablets. The trail receives 
very high use, resulting in a worn tread, standing water, 
excessive widening, and exposed roots on some sec- 
tions of the trail (Fig. 39-14). 

Prior to current rehabilitation efforts, most of the trail 
was in need of extensive maintenance, with only one 
section trail remaining in good condition as the bottom 
of a talus slope (Fig. 39-15). As of 2004, has been reha- 
bilitated (Fig. 39-16, also see Fig. 39-1). 


For detailed treatment guidelines and specifications for 
each feature, refer to Section 1, Chapters 1 through 10. 

1. Route 

Easy walking is hard to find on Mount Desert Island's 
rugged terrain. The Jordan Pond Path offers one of the 
longest level hikes, other than those provided by the 
carriage road system. The trail will require substan- 
tial improvements, however, to provide comfortable 
walking all the way around the pond. History shows 
that most repairs last about ten to twenty years due to 
the constant flow of water across the trail and into the 
pond from the surrounding mountains. In many places, 
the trail route has edged closer to the shore to avoid 
roots and vegetation. The coping stones that once lined 
the lower edge of the path were visible above or in the 
middle of the current route. These stones were often 
obscured by the soil and thick vegetation that has settled 
over the path from the slope above. In these locations it 
is necessary to evaluate whether the trail can be moved 
back to its original route. 

Despite the level of rehabilitation needed, it is recom- 
mended that the primary route of the Jordan Pond Path 
be maintained, with only minor modifications allowed 
to address erosion, exposed roots, and other problems 
associated with a pondside trail. Proposed route modi- 
fications should not alter the trail's historic character of 
a easily traversed, pondside loop and they should follow 
the general guidelines for trail route provided in Section 
1 of this document. 

2. Vegetation 

Most of the trail is through a tree and shrub edge along 
the steep bank of the pond. The current trail has moved 
closer to the shore to avoid roots and vegetation. One 



Fig. 39-10 Eroded trail and bogwalk on the western side of the 

Fig 39-12 Erosion and difficult tread area on east side of pond. 

Fig 39-11 Eroded (not original) walled causeway on east side of 

Fig 39-13 Gullied section on east side of pond. 


Section 2; #39. Jordan pond Path 

option would be to return the path to its original, 
historic route. The soil and plants that are removed 
from the original surface could be transplanted to the 
downhill side of the trail, covering and revegetating the 
existing trail where it has migrated downhill, close to 
the pond shore. 

The advantages of moving the path back to the original 
route are: 

• The path would be farther away from the shore, 
reducing impact to the shoreline. 

• The path would be brought back to its historic 
route; the existing stones defining the lower edge 
could be left in place, with minor resetting. 

The disadvantages of moving the path back to the origi- 
nal route are: 

• A large amount of vegetation and soil now covers 
the path; this would have to be dug out and trans- 
planted over the current route. 

• The disturbance of vegetation and removal of soil 
would temporarily encourage erosion. 

Fig. 39-14 Eroded portions of the trail on the western side of the 
pond are in need of rehabilitation, including narrowing the trail 

Many sections of trail are excessively wide due to walk- 
ers avoiding wet areas. Revegetation is needed to bring 
the trail back to a width of approximately 4 feet. In 
many places, walkers are avoiding exposed roots. Roots 
are awkward to walk over, while excessively high ones 
may be a tripping hazard. 

Roots should not be cut out unless absolutely neces- 
sary. Where possible the trail surface should be raised, 
the gaps between roots filled with rock rubble (apple to 

Fig. 39-15 This section of the trail at the bottom of a talus slope 
is in excellent condition. 

Fig. 39-16 The same view as Fig. 39-5 taken in 2001 showing 
NPS rehabilitation in progress. The base is in place, but the final 
application of gravel tread has not been completed. 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

grapefruit sized), and the trail surfaced with gravel fill. 
Adding material to the trail surface will not damage the 
tree by smothering its roots. Once the trail surface is 
built up and surfaced, if roots are still high enough to be 
a tripping hazard (2 to 3 inches), they may be removed. 
Once the trail surface is improved, the edges of the trail 
may be revegetated. Refer to use of crush wall to fill in 
around the roots in Chapter 6, and see Figs. 6-49 to 

3. Tread way 

A. Bench Cuts: Much of the trail is a bench cut. This 
is the historic construction and should be main- 

bilitation (Figs. 39-17 to 39-21). Guided by the 
preferred alternative, the rehabilitated trail on the 
eastern side of the pond consists primarily of new 
gravel tread (Fig. 39-22). Work on the western side 
of the pond will include some sections of gravel 
tread, but will also contain sections of bogwalk and 
stone pavement (Figs. 39-23 to 39-26) 

D. Stone Pavement: There is a section of talus pave- 
ment on the western segment of the trail. The 
stones need to be reset regularly due to movement 
by ice. This work would possibly be reduced in the 
future by rerouting the trail farther above the shore- 

B. Causeway: For pond inlet crossing, retain the stone 
causeway even though it was a later addition. It is 
likely that before the stone causeway was built there 
were single large stepping stones similar to those 
shown for The Tarn near Sieur de Monts Spring 
(Figs 5-52 & 5-58). However, the Jordan Pond Path 
receives such heavy use that single stepping stones 
across this inlet of the pond would not be suitable 
or safe for hikers. 

C. Gravel Tread: Historically, most of the trail was 
surfaced with gravel tread. However, the heavy use 
of the trail and site characteristics lead to increased 
maintenance concerns, raising the question of 
whether a high quality, 4-foot-wide gravel tread 
should be maintained around the entire perimeter 
of the trail, or only a certain distance from the 
Jordan Pond House. If only partially maintained, 
the northern sections of the trail could receive a 
moderate level of surface improvement and main- 
tenance, allowing for some exposed rocks, roots, 
and a variation in width from 3 to 4 feet, while the 
southern sections closer to the Jordan Pond House 
would be rehabilitated to a higher quality. 

To facilitate a decision on tread treatment, four 
feasible alternatives were developed for park con- 
sideration and evaluation. From these, a preferred 
alternative was chosen that adequately addressed 
park needs, resource protection, and trail reha- 

E. Unconstructed Tread: None. 

4. Drainage 

Drainage is a significant problem on the Jordan Pond 
Trail. The trail travels along the base of a slope, crossing 
many streams and wet areas that drain into the pond. It 
appears that when originally constructed, the trail was 
not built to handle the large amount of water crossing 
the path or the large volume of foot traffic. As a result 
the trail was patched with an assortment of culverts, 
wood turnpiking and cribbing, stepping stones, stone 
causeways, split log bridges, and cut board bridges. The 
trail is sometimes flooded when the outlet on the south 
end is plugged. Thus it is important to keep this outlet 
clean. The restoration of the gravel surface will require 
good drainage if it is to be durable. 

A. Culverts: Because there is so much water flow- 
ing across the trail, there is a need for many more 
trail culverts and other drainage solutions. Stone 
culverts should be used in place of wood because 
they last longer and are more in character with the 
island's tradition of stonework. While different 
methods of construction are needed to handle dif- 
ferent flows of water, it is important that there be a 
harmonious blend of durable construction styles. 

For light cross-flow, allow water to sheet across 
the trail. For wet areas, use stone-edged turnpiking 
with finer rubble fill and compacted gravel surface. 


Section 2; #39. Jordan Pond Path 

Jordan Pond 
Trail Alternative 




Fig. 39-17 Alternative A is to maintain a high-quality compacted 
gravel surface for the entire loop trail around Jordan Pond. This 
would ensure walkers would encounter the same style of path 
and easy walking, perpetuating the trail's 1920s character. To 
make the fragile pondside corridor on the west side durable 
and sustainable would require extensive work and constant 
maintenance to repair damage from water flow and seep. 


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Pond House v 

Fig. 39-18 Alternative B is to maintain a high-quality compacted 
gravel surface on the eastern side of Jordan Pond and improve 
the connection via the Deer Brook Trail (#51) to the carriage road 
on the western side of the pond. This alternative would reduce 
maintenance time and costs of maintaining gravel surface for 
the entire trail length and would be partially in keeping with the 
tradition of an easy walk around the pond. 

Jordan Pond 
Trail Alternative 




Pond House -1 

Fig. 39-19 Alternative C is to maintain a high-quality compacted 
gravel surface on a small section of the trail at the southern end 
of Jordan Pond, near the Jordan Pond House. The gravel surface 
would extend slightly up the western side of the pond to the 
first carriage road connector. It would also include a portion of 
the Jordan Pond Nature Trail (#45), creating a short loop. This 
alternative would reduce the time and cost of maintaining a 
gravel surface for the entire trail length, but not perpetuate the 
tradition of an easy walk around the pond. 

Jordan Pond 
Trail Alternative 



Fig. 39-20 Alternative D is to maintain a high-quality compacted 
gravel surface for a half-mile of trail on each side of Jordan 
Pond, north of the Jordan Pond House. Like Alternative C, this 
alternative would reduce the time and cost of maintaining a 
gravel surface for the entire trail length, but not perpetuate the 
tradition of an easy walk around the entire pond. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Trail is 3' wide in most 
places (historic width), 
gravel surface with 
some rock steps, stone 
paving, stepping 
stones as historically 
appropriate except for 
one non-historic log wall 
- also historic stone 
retaining walls and coping, 
open and closed stone 
culverts, wooden bridges 


(not to scale) 

Fig. 39-21 The chosen treatment is a combination of Alternatives A and B. This treatment involves less gravel paving than Alternative A, 
and more than Alternative B. The remainder of the trail is either rehabilitated stone paving or continuous, wide, flat bogwalk. Thus the 
tradition of an easy walk around the pond is restored to the Jordan Pond Path. 

Although not a historic feature, the 4,000-foot bogwalk section was used for two reasons. First, there is little or no evidence of historic 
work on this section of trail; and second, this is largely a wetland area, which would be radically altered by the introduction of rock and 


Section 2; #39. Jordan pond Path 

For medium cross-flow, construct small open stone 
culverts with less than a 1-foot gap in the trail tread 
without capstones. Open culverts are used in place 
of closed culverts because small capped culverts 
can fill with ice in the winter and remain frozen 
in the spring, resulting in washouts. Where water 
flow is heavier, the trail tread should be raised and 
the water directed through cross-drains or larger 
closed culverts. Covered drains, stepping stones, 
stepstone culverts, or bridges are also recom- 
mended for areas with heavier flow. Water courses 
should not be redirected but allowed to cross the 
trail where they would naturally. Where the water 

comes from different sources, several small culverts 
should be used instead of one large one (Figs. 39-27 
& 39-28). 

B. Subsurface Drains: Many sections of trail have 
year-round water slowly seeping across the trail and 
into the pond. These sections should be improved 
with the installation of subsurface drains. 

C. Side Drains: For medium cross-flow, construct a 
side drain with a few larger culverts. The side drain 
should be lined with flat stones to reduce scouring 
and help hold the edge in place. 

Fig. 39-22 Newly installed gravel tread on the eastern side of the 

Fig. 39-24 2002 NPS new stone sidewall, gravel, open stone 
culvert (with temporary wood planks) on west side near section 
pictured in Fig. 39-23. 

Fig. 39-23 Heavily rooted area and deteriorated tread on the 
west side of the pond. 

Fig. 39-25 Erosion on the steepest slope at northern end of the 
west side of the pond. 



Fig. 39-26 Wall crib and checks installed by NPS in 2002 in same 
section shown in Fig. 39-25. 


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Fig. 39-27 A medium flow of water should be handled with a 
small open culvert. Closed culverts, although providing better 
visual consistency to the trail tread, would likely clog and fail 
regularly due to ice dams and organic debris, requiring increased 


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Fig. 39-29 Bogwalk should be uniform in length and width. For 
example, this bogwalk on the western side of Jordan Pond is not 
of uniform width at the joint, making it more difficult for hikers 
to walk along safely. 

Fig. 39-28 This step stone culvert was installed on a newly 
rehabilitated section of trail to handle a heavy water flow. 

Fig. 39-30 View in 1997 of the stone causeway at the southern 
end of the pond. 


Section 2; #39. Jordan pond path 

D. Water Bars: None. 

E. Water Dips: Since most water is flowing directly 
across the trail, use of water dips is limited. 

5. Crossings 

A. Bogwalks: The trail contains extensive bogwalk 
on the western side. Although not a historic 
feature, the high use, large amount of standing 
water, exposed roots, and fragile pondside ecosys- 
tem require this treatment. Sections of bogwalk 
should be built with a uniform length and width 
(as specified in Chapter 5, Section A) and repaired 
as needed, so walkers can establish a comfortable 
rhythm and safely enjoy the pondside scenery (Fig. 

B. Bridges: Bridges on the Jordan Pond Path include 
one large, 20-foot bridge at the northern end of the 
pond and several small bridges scattered through- 
out the trail. The large bridge should be replaced in 
kind as it duplicated the bridge that preceded it (see 
Fig. 39-9). The smaller bridges, currently planed 
and split log, should be replaced with rustic VIA/ 
VIS-style cedar bridges and graveled-over bridges 
(see Fig. 39-1). 

C. Stepping Stones: Evidence from a historic post- 
card dating from the 1920s shows that a rough 
stone causeway crossed the Jordan Pond inlet at 
the southeastern end of the pond (see Fig. 39-4). 
However, this was subsequently changed to a wider 
and smoother stone causeway to provide a safer, 
more comfortable crossing (Fig. 39-30). At least one 
run of twenty or so historic stepping stones was 
also located at the northern end of the pond; these 
were rehabilitated during 2002. There were some 
sections of stepping stones on the eastern side, 
but they were not historic. They have since been 
removed. New stepping stones should not be added 
to the trail. 

6. Retaining Structures 

A. Checks: None. 

B. Coping Stones: Historically the trail was defined 
by a row of coping stones on the downhill or pond 
side of the trail. As part of the rehabilitation work, 
historic coping stones should be reset and addi- 
tional stones may be added as needed. 

C. Retaining Walls: Historically, most of the trail 
was constructed without the use of retaining walls. 
However, substantial laid and rubble retaining 
walls were constructed midway along the eastern 
shore and in the tumbledown area on the north- 
east corner of the pond. Small rubble walls are also 
extant along the west side of the pond. Some extant 
walls are up to 6 feet high and continuous over 
hundreds of linear feet. Coping, iron, and cut stone 
were all used. The majority of the square footage 
of retaining wall was in need of repair, which was 
accomplished in 2001 and 2002. Much of the work 
is featured in examples in Chapter 6. 

7. Steps: 


8. Ironwork 

Approximately eight historic pins were found during 
trail rehabilitation. These pins were holding retaining 
walls on the east side of the pond in the tumbledown 
area (see Fig. 39-15). A limited number of pins may be 
used to secure retaining walls as specified in Chapter 8. 

9. Guidance 

A. Blazes: The newly rehabilitated sections of the trail 
are easy to follow and require no blazing. Minimal 
blazing may be needed on the western side, espe- 
cially on the section through the talus slope. 

B. Cairns: None. 

C. Directional Signs: Signage should conform to 
park-wide standards. 



D. Informational Signs: Signage should conform to 
park-wide standards. 

E. Scree: None. 

F. Trail Names: The trail was initially called the 
"Jordan Pond Trail" by the VIA/VIS in the 1915 path 
guide (p. 32) and as "East Shore of Jordan Pond" 
and "West Shore of Jordan Pond" in the 1928 path 
guide (pp. 16-17). The CCC referred to it as the 
"Jordan Pond Trail." The Park Service referred to 
it as the "East Side Trail" and "West Side Trail" in 
the early 1950s and the "Jordan Pond Shore Trail" 
in the late 1950s. The name was changed to the 
"Jordan Pond Loop Trail" in the 1990s. Given the 
trail's history of highly crafted construction, and its 
current level of rehabilitation on the eastern side, 
the recommended historic name for the entire loop 
trail around Jordan Pond is "Jordan Pond Path" (see 
Appendix C). This name is now in use again. 


59 Bar Harbor VIA 1896 Annual Report. 

60 Bar Harbor VIA 1898 Annual Report. 

61 Seal Harbor VIS 1921 Annual Report. 

62 Seal Harbor VIS 1923 Annual Report. 

63 CCC Records, National Archives, Waltham, MA. 

64 Seal Harbor VIS 1952 Annual Report. 

10. Monuments and Associated Structures 

A. Monuments: Two monuments are located along 
the trail. A bench with a commemorative plaque, in 
memory of Sarah Cushing, is located at the south 
end of the pond near the boat ramp (Fig. 39-8), and 
a boulder with a commemorative plaque, placed 

in memory of Joseph Allen, is located by the shore 
towards the north end of the pond near the south- 
ern base of South Bubble (Fig. 39-7). No additional 
monuments should be added to the trail. 

B. Associated Structures: The Jordan Pond House is 
an important destination and trailhead associated 
with this trail. This connection should be main- 
tained. No additional structures should be added 
to the trail. 


Section 2: individual Trail Specifications 

Fig. 48-1 Repair work on 
the steepest section of the 
Jordan Cliffs Trail. 

Jordan Cliffs Trail (#48) 




Characteristic of VIA/VIS summit trails, this 
challenging route winds along the ledges of 
Jordan Bluffs, then ascends to the north by a 
steep ravine to the open ledges and summit of Sargent 
Mountain (Figs. 48-1 & 48-2). A lack of built features, 
however, on the northern section has resulted in sub- 
stantial erosion and unsafe conditions. Rehabilitation 
efforts must focus on the addition of features, which are 
in keeping with the VIA/VIS style, to ensure durable and 
safe tread. 


• Repair damaged section of trail north of Deer 
Brook. Reset step-shaped rocks — currently used in 
scree — as steps. Use stone in the talus field for cop- 
ing and retaining wall, characteristic of VIA/VIS 

• Bring eroded sections of trail back to their original 
2- to 4-foot width by adding checks, improving 
drainage, treadway, and placing barriers along trail 
edges, such as infrequent coping stones. 

• Re-mark closed section with fresh blazes and 

• Add gravel surfacing in short sections from local 
borrow pits where material has been lost. 

• Determine whether the trail should be renamed the 
Bluffs Path and East Cliffs Trail. 


Jordan Bluffs, later referred to as Jordan Cliffs, is one of 
the steepest cliffs in the interior of the island; it offers 
dramatic views of Jordan Pond and the surrounding 
mountains. On the earliest path map prepared by the 
VIA/VIS in 1896, the Bluffs Path is marked from near 
the outlet of Jordan Pond, up and north along the base 
of the ledges, up to a spring, then up the bluffs to the 
shoulder of Penobscot [Jordan] Mountain (48-3). The 
trail was possibly laid out by Waldron Bates, accord- 
ing to the 1893 Bar Harbor VIA Annual Report: "Mr. 
Bates has done much valuable work upon the Jordan 
Pond end of the Sargent mountain path." In the 1920s, 
as first shown on the 1926 path map, another path was 
added to the Bluffs, extending further north across the 
Bluffs, to cross the Deer Brook Trail (#51) and ascend 
to the summit of Sargent Mountain. This addition, now 
known as the Jordan Cliffs Trail, was named the East 

North Ridge Trail 

J53) Sargent 

Grandgent Trail J|66, 

South Ridge Sargent 

Not to Scale North 


Penobscot Mountain Trail/ 
Spring Trail 

To Jordan Pond 

Fig. 48-2 Jordan Cliffs Trail (#48). 


Section 2; #48. Jordan Cliffs Trail 

Cliffs Trail in the 1928 path guide and described from 
the south end to the north end: (Fig. 48-4) 

Just beyond Bluffs at fork and signpost, go straight 
ahead on trail marked "Sargent Mt. Summit via Deer 
Brook." Follow cairns along cliffs then descend into 
woods to intersection near Deer Brook. Go straight 
ahead. Cross trail and brook, and ascend this very steep 
trail. On emerging from the trees, ascent becomes easier, 
and continues by easy grades to the summit of Sargent 
Mt. 65 

This section of the trail, from the Bluffs eastward, is also 
described as a "new" trail in 1932 by Seal Harbor VIS 
Path Committee Chairman Joseph Allen. 

Attention is called to one new trail which is expected 
to prove very popular. It leaves the Jordan Bluff trail at 
about two-thirds of the way up, and crosses the face 
of the east cliffs on Jordan Mountain, reaching the top 
of the bluff at its northerly end. This gives fine views of 
cliffs, over Jordan Pond, out to sea, into the mountains, 
and without very arduous climbing. It differs in this 

Sargerit Mt. 

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Fig. 48-3 Portion of 1896 path map by the VIA/VIS showing the 
route of Bluffs Path, starting northwest of the dam at Jordan 
Pond, across the Bluffs to a spring, then to the ridge of Jordan 

respect from the ladder trail on Newport Mountain, 
resembling more the charming Bubble Cliff trail opened 
last season. It is recommended for all those who have 
steady heads as a delightful variation in the ways to 
ascend Jordan or Sargent Mountains. 66 

By 1941 several other trails were added to the Bluffs 
area, creating a labyrinth of trails (Fig. 48-5). Several 
trails were subsequently closed by the NPS. In a 1952 
path inventory the northern half of the trail, from Deer 
Brook to the summit of Sargent Mountain, was referred 
to as the Sargent Summit Cutoff. By the late 1950s, how- 
ever, the trail was again named the Jordan Cliffs Trail. 
Since about the 1980s, the southern half of the trail has 
been closed from early spring to late summer to protect 
peregrine falcons, which nest on the Bluffs not far from 
the trail (Fig. 48-6). In the 1990s, the northern half of 
the trail was closed due to unsafe trail conditions in a 
steep section of trail with loose rock (Fig. 48-7). 

Spring /$ r x> , 1&< ' 

Fig. 48-4 Portion of the 1926 path map by the VIA/VIS showing 
the trail extended north of the Bluffs, across Deer Brook, then 
west to the summit of Sargent (north is up). 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 


Rising above Jordan Pond and the Jordan Pond House, 
this difficult cliffside trail extends 2.2 miles from the 
Penobscot Mountain Trail, along Jordan Cliffs. It then 
drops into a wooded valley, crosses the Deer Brook 
Trail and Deer Brook, and finally climbs up to the 
summit of Sargent Mountain. Its southernmost sec- 
tion, from the Penobscot Mountain Trail (#47) to the 
Penobscot East Trail (#50), is one of the oldest cliff- 
side trails on the island. It contains some iron, one log 
bridge, stepping stones across Deer Brook, and some 
stonework. In comparison with other VIA/VIS trails, 
however, it has relatively few built features. With heavy 
use, this lack of built features has resulted in substan- 
tial erosion, and in some sections, difficult and unsafe 
tread. As a result, the northern portion of the trail was 
closed in the mid-1990s. 


For detailed treatment guidelines and specifications for 
each feature, refer to Section 1, Chapters 1 through 10. 

1. Route 

On the section of trail north of Deer Brook, the trail 
winds up through talus and along ledges. Once above 
treeline, there are spectacular views from the ledges 
(Figs. 48-8 to 48-10). The trail ascends to the shoulder 
of Sargent Mountain and travels fairly directly to the 
summit (Fig. 48-11). A steep and eroded section located 
in a talus area above Deer Brook is currently unsafe 
due to loose falling rocks. This straight section should 
be rebuilt to wind up through the talus area. The new 
route should be flagged prior to construction and rejoin 
the original route above and below the damaged sec- 

2. Vegetation 

There are extensive areas of alpine vegetation along the 
trail. These should be protected by carefully mark- 
ing the trail with blazes, cairns, and occasional coping 
stones where hikers tend to wander. Educational trail 
literature and maps should also be provided to hikers. 


Fig. 48-5 Portion of the 1941 path map by the VIA/VIS showing 
several additional trails to the Bluffs (north is up). 

Fig. 48-6 The southern section of the trail is closed seasonally for 
peregrine falcon nesting. 


Section 2; #48. Jordan Cliffs Trail 

Fig. 48-7 Steep eroded section of trail that has been closed for 
several years. 

Fig. 48-9 Views from ledges on shoulder of Sargent Mountain. 

Fig. 48-10 Views from Jordan Cliffs Trail over ledges on shoulder 
of Sargent Mountain. 


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Fig. 48-8 Ascending ledges below shoulder of Sargent Mountain. 
Section in poor condition needs steps and checks. 

Fig. 48-1 1 Trail across ledges to summit of Sargent. Clear trail 
marking with blazes, cairns and occasional coping is important to 
protect alpine vegetation. 



Fig. 48-12 Looking south at jumbled stepping stones in 
foreground over Deer Brook and intersection with Deer Brook 
Trail (#51) in background. 

Fig. 48-15 A short run of coping stones, steps, and stone 
pavement on ledges in poor condition. 

Fig. 48-13 Section of tread along ledge, a natural bench, with 
retaining wall. 

Fig. 48-14 The same retaining wall as above, viewed from the 
side of the trail. 

Fig. 48-16 Tread and slope stabilization in progress in 2004 using 
winding steps built in the VIA/VIS style. 


Section 2; #48. Jordan Cliffs Trail 

3. Treadway 

A. Bench Cuts: Much of the trail extends along bench 
cuts created by ledges. This should be maintained. 

B. Causeway: None. 

C. Gravel Tread: New tread material should be added 
as needed in accordance with guidelines previously 
established for gravel tread. 

D. Stone Pavement: None. 

E. Unconstructed Tread: The trail contains extensive 
sections of unconstructed tread across ledge. These 
sections should be delineated with blazes, cairns, 
and, if necessary, occasional coping stones to keep 
hikers from wandering and damaging alpine vegeta- 
tion (see Fig. 48-11). 

4. Drainage 

The trail has very few drainage features since most of 
the trail is across ledges. The northern half of the trail, 
from Penobscot East (#50) onward, appears to have 
received minimal attention to construction and drain- 
age. Drainage features, particularly culverts and water 
bars, should be added to improve the durability, stabil- 
ity, and safety of the treadway. 

5. Crossings 

A. Bogwalk: None. 

B. Bridges: A two-stringer bridge over a ravine on the 
cliffs was removed in the 1970s and replaced with 

a single-notched-log bridge. A handrail was added 
in the 1990s for hiker safety. No documentation has 
been found for the original crossing; however, the 
VIA/VIS bridge style is appropriate for this trail if 
bridges should be added. 

6. Retaining Structures 

On the section of trail north of Deer Brook, there are 
several low retaining walls to provide comfortable tread 
along ledges. There is also some coping (Figs. 48-13 to 
48-15). Additional or new retaining walls and/or checks 
are needed in sections that are eroded and washed out. 
The most eroded sections of trail need checks, coping 
stones, retaining walls, and steps. 

7. Steps 

On the section of trail north of Deer Brook, there 
are several sections in poor condition that may have 
contained steps. Steep eroded sections in poor condi- 
tion should be repaired with a combination of checks, 
retaining wall, and steps constructed to be compatible 
with the general VIA/VIS style. This would include step 
work in the Bar Harbor VIA, Northeast Harbor VIS, 
and Southwest Harbor VIA districts. In Bar Harbor, this 
would include step work on the relocated Curran Path 
(#315) and several 1920s endowed trails, including the 
Andrew Murray Young Path (#25), Gurnee Path (#352), 
Beachcroft Path (#13), Gorge Path (#28), Brigham Path 
(#366), and Canon Brook Path (#19). The repaired 
section should be winding rather than straight. The 
challenge is to create a durable treadway without mak- 
ing this trail appear like the highly constructed endowed 
trails (Fig. 48-16). Figure 48-1 shows trail rehabilitation 
with steps in progress. 

8. Ironwork 

There is iron on the southern half of the trail, includ- 
ing iron pinned logs. The existing ironwork should be 
rehabilitated as needed. Compatible new ironwork may 
also be added. 

9. Guidance 

A. Blazes: The entire trail should be marked with 

C. Stepping Stones: Large stepping stones are used to 
cross Deer Brook. These should be maintained and 
reset as needed (Fig. 48-12). 

B. Cairns: Cairns should be maintained on the 

ledge sections of trail, particularly for the section 
approaching Sargent Mountain summit. 



Fig. 48-17 Scree placed in the early 1990s that may have 
eliminated VIA/VIS steps. Eroded unsafe section above. 

E. Scree: A section of trail north of Deer Brook was 
repaired with scree, possibly dismantling VIA/VIS 
steps. The section is now in poor condition. Scree is 
not appropriate for use on this trail, and steps and 
coping stones should be used in place of scree (Fig. 

F. Trail Names: The current trail consists of two his- 
toric trails, one south of Deer Brook along Jordan 
Bluffs, and one north of Deer Brook up Sargent 
Mountain. It is recommended that the name of 
the trail reflect this. The southern half of the trail 
should be called the Jordan Cliffs Trail, while the 
northern half should be called the Sargent East 
Cliffs Trail, as it was called in the 1928 VIA/VIS path 
guide (see Appendix C). 

10. Monuments and Associated Structures 



65 Harold Peabody and Charles Grandgent, Walks on Mount Desert 
Island (1928), 53, also 46. 

66 Seal Harbor VIS 1932 Annual Report, 14. 

C. Directional Signs: There are four directional signs 
on the trail, located at the junction with the Penob- 
scot Mountain Trail (#47), at the junction with 
Penobscot East (#50), at the junction with the Deer 
Brook Trail (#51), and at the summit of Sargent 
Mountain (see Fig. 48-6). 

D. Informational Signs: Trail closure signs are posted 
seasonally for peregrine falcon nesting. In 1984 a 
"Caution" sign was placed at the southern end of 
the trail. During the spring and summer seasons, 
signs for trail closure are posted in the three previ- 
ously described locations. Information signs should 
follow general sign standards established for the 
trail system. 


Section 2: individual Trail Specifications 

Fig. 127-1 Outer loop on the Ship Harbor Nature Trail. 

Ship Harbor Nature 
Trail (#127) 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


As a Mission 66 trail, this trail does not fall 
within the period of historical significance for 
the development of the trail system. How- 
ever, many of the guidelines developed in the treatment 
plan may be applied. 

Replace corroded 8-inch steel corrugated culverts 

in-kind and re-dig associated side drains and 


Add walled or wall-less causeway over low, wet 

sections that are difficult to drain. 

Add gravel surfacing where material has been lost. 


• Make the first 1,300 feet of trail ADA accessible, 
from the trail entrance, along the eastern half of the 
northern loop, to the intersection with the southern 
loop, then west to the harbor inlet. 

• Define the terminus of the ADA-accessible section 
at the inlet with a sign, bench, and widened circular 

• Bring trail back to its original 5-foot width by 
improving drainage, treadway, and placing barriers 
along trail edges, such as infrequent coping stones, 
natural logs, and vegetation. 

• Remove log crib steps and water bars. 

• Replace 1990s log checks that are tripping hazards 
with stone checks. 


A protected cove, Ship Harbor is named in memory of 
an American privateer who sailed into the harbor to 
hide from the British during the Revolutionary War. 
The land bounding Ship Harbor became part of Acadia 
National Park in 1937. At this time, Park Superinten- 
dent George Dorr directed improvements to the Ship 
Harbor area in an effort to open it for public use. This 
work included clearing of understory vegetation and 
deadwood, termed "fire hazard removal," and the devel- 
opment of a fire road on the west side of the harbor. In 
the 1950s, as part of the Mission 66 program, the park 
constructed a self-guided nature trail on the east side of 
Ship Harbor. Construction of this trail fit well within 
the Mission 66 program to add "well planned trails" 

ADA Accessible Section 

Rt. 102 

Not to Scale North 

Fig. 127-2 The Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127). 


Section 2; #127. Ship Harbor Nature trail 

for "enjoyment-without-impairment." Specifically, 
the park added trails for interpretive purposes for an 
increasing number of visitors. A 1961 document also 
proposed that ranger-led tours would travel from the 
Seawall Campground to trails along Wonderland and 
Ship Harbor. The Ship Harbor Nature Trail, as designed 
by the Park Service, provided a 5-foot-wide gravel tread, 
with nearby parking and an easy grade. Corrugated 
steel pipes were installed for drainage. A self-guided 
trail with fourteen numbered posts and a brochure was 
developed in 1968, while John Good served as the park 
superintendent. The brochure has been reprinted, 
most recently in 1995 through Eastern National Park 
& Monument Association. The posts have also been 
replaced. The trail is used heavily and one of the easiest 
in the trail system (Figs. 127-1 to 127-5). 


With a parking area right at the trailhead, this 1.5-mile 
loop trail offers a relatively easy walk through thick 
coniferous forest, along ledges exposed to the ocean's 
pounding surf, and along the shore of a cozy, tidal 
harbor with no development. The Ship Harbor Nature 
Trail is the only self-guided nature trail on the western 
side of Mount Desert and is similar to the Jordan Pond 
Nature Trail (#45) on the eastern side. 

The trail's intent is to offer easy walking, provide 
opportunities for appreciation of the coastal scenery, 
and interpret the area's natural and cultural history. 
However, the intent is somewhat hindered by the poor 
condition of the trail. There are many areas of exposed 
roots, water puddling, and trail erosion. In some loca- 
tions, the trodden path is almost 30 feet wide. Addition- 
ally, vandals have damaged an interpretive sign that once 
existed at the southern-most vista on the trail's lower 


For detailed treatment guidelines and specifications for 
each feature, refer to Section 1, Chapters 1 through 10. 

1. Route 

The loop trail departs from a parking area and creates 
a figure eight with northern and southern loops. The 
trail's proximity to ocean and harbor afford the hiker 
magnificent views. There is a park-maintained vista at 
the southernmost part of the trail. The trail's original 
route should be maintained with portions upgraded for 
ADA accessibility (Fig. 127-6). 

2. Vegetation 

The trail winds through an old orchard and thick 
coniferous forest, past interesting trees with burls and 
snake-like trunks, and along the rockweed-strewn coast. 
In thick forested areas, much of the trail is undefined 
and widened due to a lack of understory vegetation (Fig. 
127-7 & Fig. 127-8). This variety in vegetation char- 
acter should be maintained along the trail by keeping 
the original route. Trail widening should be addressed 
with coping stones and/or the placement of fallen logs 
sporadically along the trail edges. 

Fig. 127-3 Entrance to the Ship Harbor Nature Trail, with the 
harbor in the distance. 

Fig. 127-4 Self-guided trail post on ledge overlooking Ship 


Acadia Trails Treatment plan 

3. Treadway 

A. Bench Cuts: About one-third of the original trail 
was constructed with half bench cut. Subsequent 
erosion makes it difficult to identify bench cuts. 
New bench cuts may be constructed, if needed, to 
stabilize the trail. 

D. Stone Pavement: One 50-foot section through a 
rock jumble has step stones set in gravel function- 
ing as stone pavement. This section was built in 
1992 by a volunteer group. It may be retained until 
it needs rehabilitation, then it should be replaced 
with causeway. 

B. Causeway: Many eroded sections should be 
improved with causeway. 

C. Gravel Tread: The original trail was 5 feet wide 
and gravel-surfaced by Mission 66. Much of the 
gravel has washed away and the eroded surface has 
exposed roots. Once drainage problems are dealt 
with, new gravel tread should be applied 

(Fig. 127-9). 

E. Unconstructed Tread: There are sections of 
unconstructed woodland forest floor and ledge. 
Sections that are low and wet require constructed 
tread. Along the first half mile that will be ADA 
accessible, causeway should be built. Causeway is 
also the preferred alternative for other low and wet 
portions of the trail; however, boardwalk may also 
be constructed if needed to address accessibility. At 
the terminus of the ADA accessible section of trail 
a wide area of raised tread should be established as 

h Thji rucL. outer up doesn't K»ve 

bui lichens are Thanking thii The red 
Inhi-k. ii. J ^icen spots nn the n>ck. arc 

jlgae. Imng and wording together 

■ip> !»■**» «v by 

tih°pn*K<l^ li ' 

lered places, the 

ii cr — the beginnings 


id grasses grow from 
ing. collecting more 


i larger shrubs, and 

7S5S Tamarack 

0/ the tamarack, or 


Fig. 127-5 Interpretive brochure for the Ship Harbor Nature Trail (#127). 


Section 2; #127. Ship harbor nature Trail 

an overlook and turnaround point. This would be 
similar to the CCC overlook constructed at Otter 

4. Drainage 

A. Culverts: The trail contains 8-inch steel corrugated 
pipe culverts with stone headwalls at each end. 

Side drains and ditches have silted-in and become 
ineffective, so water remains on the trail. Pipes 
should be replaced and reset for positive drainage. 
Associated side drains need to be re-dug and main- 
tained (Fig. 127-10). 

B. Subsurface Drains: (see Fig. 127-6). 

Black outline indicates 
ADA Accessibility 

Fig. 127-6 Ship Harbor treatment detail. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 127-9 Typical 5-foot gravel treadway. 

Fig. 127-11 Original coping. 


Section 2; #127. Ship Harbor Nature Trail 

C. Side Drains: Original side drains have filled in and 
are no longer effective. These should be re-dug 
and maintained annually. 

D. Water Bars: Water bars were added in the 1990s. 
These should be removed for the ADA-accessible 
section of trail and replaced with water dips or side 
ditches and pipe culverts. For other sections of the 
trail, water bars should be maintained annually. 

E. Water Dips: Some water dips exist on the trail. 
Water dips may be added to the trail where needed, 
particularly on the ADA-accessible section of trail. 

5. Crossings 


6. Retaining Structures 

A. Checks: Several log checks are in poor condition 
and are tripping hazards. These should be removed 
and replaced with stone checks. 

B. Coping Stones: Small pieces of original coping 
stones remain (Fig. 127-11). Coping is square, bro- 
ken chunks of local basalt, set mostly in the down- 
hill side of the tread, with some set on both sides. 
Coping should be added where trail widening is a 
problem. Stones should be dispersed ten feet apart 
and placed in conjunction with natural fallen logs 
and revegetation. 

C. Retaining Walls: Several sections of original 
retaining wall are still visible, consisting of angular 
chunks of local basalt laid with a batter to hold 
tread on the downhill side. Wall is usually under 

1 foot high and protrudes above the tread due to 
erosion. Many wall sections have collapsed or 
been obliterated by subsequent scree work. A 1992 
section built by University of Maine volunteers is 
approximately 8 feet high by 20 feet long. Another 
section of new wall, constructed in 1993 by the 
YCC, is constructed of single stones, averaging 2 
feet square, set into the beach to hold tread along 
the ocean (Fig. 127-12). Collapsed and dismantled 
retaining walls should be rebuilt. Additional walls 

should be constructed as needed to repair eroded 

7. Steps 

At the trail entrance, a series of log crib steps were 
added in 1992. These are 5 feet wide with 10-inch risers 
(see Fig. 127-3). There is also one short stone staircase, 
added in 1991, consisting of four slab-laid steps of local 
basalt, measuring 2 feet by 4 feet, with a 1 foot rise (Fig. 
127-13). These staircases should be removed if possible 
for ADA accessibility. Additional steps should not be 
added to this trail. 

8. Ironwork 


9. Guidance 

A. Blazes: None. 

B. Cairns: None. 

C. Directional Signs: A large sign is located at the 
trail entrance (see Fig. 127-3). At 613 feet along the 
trail, there is a post for a intersection sign where 
the loop begins. This sign is stolen often. At the 
convergence of the two loops, at 1,167 feet along 
the trail, is a log sign with arrows. Signage at these 
points should be maintained in a style consistent 
with the system. No additional directional signs 
should be needed for this straightforward, easily 
traversed trail. 

D. Informational Signs: At the trail entrance is a 
brochure box and an iron tube with a money slot. 
Nearby is a large sign with the trail name, map, and 
quote. There are fourteen numbered posts for the 
self-guided nature trail (see Figs. 127-4 & 127-5). A 
redwood interpretive sign describing shipwrecks 
was located at the southern end of the trail, but the 
NPS removed the sign after it was vandalized. 

The entrance sign and numbered posts should be 
maintained to coordinate with the self-guided hike. 
The shipwreck interpretive sign should be replaced 
with a style of sign that is less prone to vandalism. 



Fig. 127-12 Retaining wall constructed by YCC in 1993. 

-->,"" ':*■•'■■ ■, 

Fig. 127-13 Slab laid steps built in 1991 of local basalt. 

Fig. 127-15 ADA-accessible section of trail completed in 2003. 

Fig. 127-14 Portion of a 50-foot section of step stones serving as 
stone pavement in gravel, lined with scree, constructed in 1992. 


Section 2; #127. Ship Harbor Nature Trail 

E. Scree: A 50-foot section of trail, repaired in 1992, 
contains step stones set in gravel with scree along 
the sides (Fig. 127-14). When this section is rehabil- 
itated, the scree should be removed. No additional 
scree should be added to this trail. 

F. Trail Names: The trail was originally named the 
Ship Harbor Nature Trail. This name should be 

10. Monuments and Associated Structures 

A. Monuments: None. 

B. Structures: There are currently no associated 
structures. Benches should be added along the 
half-mile ADA-accessible section, particularly at the 
terminus of this section by the harbor inlet (Figure 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


Section 2: individual Trail Specifications 

Fig. 349-1 Historic photograph, circa 1916, of steps and overhead lintel showing the constructed character of 
the Homans Path. 

Homans Path (#349) 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 


Unmarked since the 1940s, the Homans Path 
provides an undisturbed example of early- 
twentieth-century VIA/VIS stonework on 
its ascent up the eastern slope of Dorr Mountain. As 
one of the highly crafted memorial trails radiating from 
Sieur de Monts Spring, the Homans Path is a showpiece 
of rustic construction techniques (Figs. 349-1 & Fig 
349-2). In June 2001 this trail was carefully documented 
with written descriptions, measurements, and photo- 
graphs (Figs. 349-3 & 349-4). Information gathered 
included the location and use of stone steps, shims and 
blocking, drill marks, "dog" dimples, ironwork, closed 
culverts, boulders set over the trail, and other stone- 

Park management has decided to reopen the Homans 
Path. In anticipation of this, the trails crew developed 
a general plan for treatment of the trail addressing 
rehabilitation of the trail's constructed features as 
well as the creation of new access routes at both ends 
of the trail. Once reopened, marked, and included in 
the trail system, maintenance will become a priority 
on this trail. High use will likely cause the slab steps 
to slip and slump, 
as has occurred on 
other stepped trails. 
To deter this, early 
rehabilitation work 
may include the 
minimal addition of 
concealed iron pins 
to help hold steps 
and coping stones in 
place. The extensive 
collection of photos 
taken during recent 
trail documentation 
should be used to 
monitor the exist- 
ing trail conditions 
during each season, 
noting changes 
that occur over 

time. Sections of stonework that are slipping can then 
be reinforced before they fail and require complete 


• Reopen the trailhead and the connection to Sieur 
de Monts Spring. 

• Repair sections of collapsed steps. Reset steps, 
retaining walls, and coping that have slipped. Add 
drainage or iron pins if necessary. Document addi- 

• Add constructed features to the upper uncon- 
structed section of trail to delineate the route. Use 
features that are compatible with the rest of the 
trail — stone pavement, coping stones, and pos- 
sibly steps as needed. A clearly defined route will 
prevent trail braiding, tramping of vegetation, and 

• Install a trailhead sign at the base and an intersec- 
tion sign at the upper end. 

Jesup Path 


Not to Scale North 


Fig. 349-2 Homans Path (#349). 


Section 2; #349. homans Path 


Beginning in 1913, George Dorr directed the develop- 
ment of a network of memorial paths radiating from 
Sieur de Monts Spring. Dorr envisioned the Sieur de 
Monts area as the center of a reservation of protected 
lands with paths connecting to Bar Harbor and the sur- 
rounding mountains. Dorr was able to raise funds for 
trail construction as an active member of the Bar Har- 
bor VIA Path Committee, the Hancock County Trustees 
of Public Reservations, as well as the founder of his own 
philanthropic organization, the Wild Gardens of Acadia 
Corporation. By the time the reservation was desig- 
nated Sieur de Monts National Monument in 1916, with 
Dorr as Superintendent, most of the memorial trails 
were partially or fully completed, including the Kane 
Path (#17), Beachcroft Path (#13), Kurt Diederich's 
Climb (#16), Homans Path (#349), Jesup Path (#14), 
and Emery Path (#15), with the Schiff Path (#15) added 
later. All of the trails were highly crafted with extensive 

According to the 1915 path guide, the Homans Path was 
initially constructed between 1913 and 1915 as part of 
Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16), which was described as 

from the northern end of the Kane Path to the Sieur 
de Monts Crag about halfway up the eastern face of 
Dry [Dorr] Mountain with a fine view, it then descends 
and comes out on the road a little beyond the Sieur De 
Monts Spring. A path leading from the crag to the top of 
the mountain is projected. 

Subsequent construction of the Schiff Path (#15) to 
the top of the mountain and the Emery Path (#15) 
from Sieur de Monts Spring resulted in the renaming 
of the northern half of Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16) 
as the Homans Path. Dorr named the path for Mrs. 
Eliza Homans, the first large land donor to the Han- 
cock County Trustees. The path is one of the least 
documented in the system and was not endowed with 
a maintenance fund. It is first shown on the 1916 path 
map and briefly mentioned in the Bar Harbor VIA 1916 
annual report: 

...the system of Memorial Paths constructed by Mr. Dorr 
on Dry [Dorr] and Pickett [Huguenot Head] has been 
enriched by the Emery Memorial Path,.. .leading from the 
Sieur de Monts Spring to the Crag above, where it con- 
nects with Kurt Diederich's Climb and the Homans Path. 

With the completion of the Emery Path (#15), the 
Homans Path became a parallel but less accessible route 
for hikers traveling to and from Sieur de Monts Spring. 
For hikers traveling from Bar Harbor, the Homans Path 
was one of several options, and it offered a shorter 
route to Sieur de Mont Crag and the summit of Dry 
[Dorr] Mountain. But as the Sieur de Monts Spring 
area became a center of activity and a place for parking 
automobiles, the use of the Homans Path diminished. 
The Homans Path was not described in the 1928 path 
guide issued by the VIA/VIS Joint Path Committee 
(though shown on VIA/VIS path maps until 1941) and 
was deleted from maps produced by the National Park 
Service in the 1940s. 

Little if any maintenance was done on the path after 
its construction. It is possible that the CCC or Park 
Service crews dismantled the upper section of the path 
to avoid confusion with the Emery Path (#15). The path 
remained unused and unmarked for over fifty years. In 
1993 the publication Trails of History, written by local 
hikers Tom St. Germain and Jay Sanders, rekindled 
interest in the trail. The authors described the path's 
remarkable stone construction with its carefully placed 
stone boulders, its route past several natural springs, 
and wonderful views. They also recommended that the 
path be reopened. A year later, an unknown party, one 
or more individuals dubbed by park as "trail phantoms," 
carried out unauthorized work. Trees were cut along 
the path and moss was scraped from the stone steps. 
The incident sparked local publicity and spotlighted the 
uncertain fate of the park's many unmarked trails, most 
of which were closed by the Park Service in the 1950s. 
In the Hiking Trails Management Plan, the Homans Path 
is called out as a highly crafted historic trail with high 
cultural value that should be reopened. 




The Homans Path is similar to other highly constructed 
memorial paths radiating from the Sieur de Monts 
Spring area. The trail starts in a woodland setting (see 
Fig. 349-3) and rises quickly across a series of talus 
slopes. The choice of route is like other trails con- 
structed in the 1910s— winding, leading through rock 
fissures, past water features and to viewpoints. The 
trail consists predominantly of slab-laid stone steps 
with retaining walls and coping stones of assorted sizes. 
As part of the third memorial path constructed between 
1913 and 1915— preceded by the Beachcroft Path 
(#13), which was later reworked, the Kane Path (#17), 
and constructed as part of Kurt Diederich's Climb 
(#16)— the trail exhibits exceptional craftsmanship, but 
it is relatively simple compared to the later Emery Path 
(#15), which contains more coping stones and exten- 
sive iron. The Homans Path has only minimal iron, 

which is used to hold slab-laid steps and support walls 
onto ledge. The relatively few drainage features are 
located near the base of the trail, and most of the trail 
relies on subsurface drainage through underlying talus. 
Boulders placed over the path at rock crevices, a unique 
feature on the Homans Path, act as lintels, creating 
spaces through which hikers may travel (see Fig. 349-1 
& 349-5). One of the greatest values of the Homans 
Path at the time of this report is the pristine quality 
of its circa-1915 construction, which has been altered 
slightly by weathering but not by high use (Fig. 349-6). 
During its fifty or so years of disuse, trail sections that 
cross intermittent streams or pass by springs have been 
dismantled by ice and water, though all steps and wall 
stones are retrievable (Fig. 349-7). The steps— large, 
occasionally cut, slab-laid and set-behind — are typical 
of the memorial trails. There are no extant associated 
trail structures, such as benches, cairns, signs, monu- 
ments, or markers. 

Fig. 349-3 The entrance to the Homans Path is on an unmarked section of Hemlock Road (#377), marked by two large coping stones. 
Constructed VIA sonework is prevalent along the trail, and the first features at the trailhead include a capstone culvert over the road's 
drainage ditch, and followed by a series of steps. 


Section 2; #349. homans path 

Fig. 349-4 Homans Path treatment detail. 

Fig. 349-5 This stone was placed during trail 
construction to create an interesting feature along the 
route. It is the same location as shown in Figure 349-1, 
but viewed from above. 

Fig. 349-6 Stone steps and stone pavement through 
talus slope. 




For detailed treatment guidelines and specifications for 
each feature, refer to Section 1, Chapters 1 through 10. 

1. Route 

The Homans Path begins at the former Hemlock Road 
(#377), which is no longer marked, not far from the 
junction of the Stratheden Path (#24) and Hemlock 

Fig. 349-7 Approximately 230 feet from entrance, a 24-foot 
section of collapsed tread and uprooted trees shows the 
abandoned condition of some trail segments. 

Trail (#23). The trail has two entrances that join in a 
fork approximately 160 feet along the trail (Fig. 349-8). 
The ascent up Dorr Mountain, made up of predomi- 
nantly stone steps, begins in the woods and winds up 
past several springs, under boulders and through rock 
crevices and formations (Figs. 349-9 & see 349-1 & 
349-5). Two boulders were placed over the trail, as 
evidenced by "dog" dimples at the corners of the boul- 
ders. Near the upper end of the trail the stone steps 
terminate, and the last 500 feet are unclearly marked 
with no built features. Increased use over the past five 
years has resulted in a trodden "social path" to connect 
with the Emery Path (#15) along Sieur de Monts Crag. 

The historic route of the trail up Dorr Mountain, and 
the connection to the Emery Path (#15) should be main- 
tained. Connections to both the Emery Path (#15) and 
the Hemlock Road should be constructed in conjunc- 
tion with the reopening of this trail (see Fig. 349-4). 

Fig. 349-8 Fork located about 160 feet up the trail. 

Fig. 349-9 Rock formation along the trail route. 


Section 2; #349. Homans Path 

2. Vegetation 

There is no exceptional vegetation along the trail. The 
area was burned in the 1947 fire, and some steps and 
retaining walls were possibly dismantled by the decay 
and uprooting of large trees killed in the fire (see Fig. 
349-7). The area has revegetated with birches. Many 
birches along the trail were damaged by trail phantoms 
who were trying to brush the trail in the mid-1990s. The 
damaged trees should be cut at the base (Fig. 349-10). 
Any trees and/or roots that are likely to dismantle steps 
or other stonework should be removed. Along the 
upper section of the trail, where there is no constructed 
tread, installation of a clearly defined trail will protect 
adjacent vegetation (Fig. 349-11). 

3. Treadway 

A. Bench Cuts: Some short sections of the trail 
extend along benches, but most of the trail consists 
of steps leading up the slope. Avoid introducing 
additional bench cuts. 

B. Causeway: None. 

C. Gravel Tread: Most of the treadway consists of 
steps and stone pavement. Four culverts that were 
initially graveled-over are located in the first 130 
feet of trail (Fig. 340-12). A section of stone rubble 
at 170 feet up the trail indicates that short sections 
of trail were once gravel surfaced with borrowed 
soil or gravel. As the trail reaches the top of Sieur 
de Monts Crag, there are additional sections similar 
to this, and also where the trail connects to the 
Emery Path (#15). During rehabilitation, gravel 
tread should be reestablished where it was located 
historically. It may also be added to the upper 
unconstructed sections of the trail to strengthen the 
tread and prevent erosion. Locally mined gravel 
should be used unless the volume needed becomes 
too large; then the imported gravel mix may be 
used with care to ensure the gravel color, size, and 
texture does not detract from the existing historic 

D. Stone Pavement: There are short sections of stone 
pavement and talus pavement throughout the trail. 

Fig. 349-10 Young birch trees are the predominant vegetation 
along the lower parts of the trail. Damaged specimens like this 
one should be removed from treadway. 

Fig. 349-1 1 Unconstructed tread at the upper end of the trail is 
bounded by sporadic coping stones, blueberry bushes, and other 
subalpine vegetation. A more constructed tread way would 
discourage trail widening and damage to adjacent vegetation. 


Acadia trails Treatment Plan 

Fig. 349-14 Retaining wall, coping and curved steps at about 270 
feet up the trail. 

Fig. 349-16 Large stone steps. 


Section 2; #349. Homans Path 

However, the upper 500 feet of the trail does not 
contain steps or stone pavement. This section will 
need reinforcement of the treadway to prevent 
erosion and gullying, and stone pavement or gravel 
tread may be used. When applying new stone 
pavement, consult other memorial trails as models, 
but make sure the new installation can be differen- 
tiated from historic work when complete. Where 
possible, the trail should be routed along the ledge 
of Sieur de Monts Crag, both to provide less need 
for a constructed tread and to access the views 
from the mountain. 

E. Unconstructed Tread: Most of the trail relies on 
constructed tread, which is part of its highly crafted 
character. Sections of steps are pinned to ledge 
rather than leading the hiker on the ledge itself. 
Unconstructed tread at the top of the trail connect- 
ing with the Emery Path (#15) should be reinforced 
with stone pavement or gravel tread (see above). 

4. Drainage 

A few drainage features are located in the first section of 
trail. At the entrance, a capstone culvert extends across 
the Hemlock Road (#377) drainage ditch (see Fig. 349- 
3). This culvert is the first constructed feature on the 
trail. About 60 feet up the trail, a graveled-over culvert 
directs water from an intermittent stream under the 
tread (Fig. 349-12). Three similar culverts are located 
within the next 70 feet of trail. The last of these four 
culverts has exposed lintels. No other culverts exist on 
the trail. A drainage feature is located 370 feet up the 
trail, which, according to the trail inventory, consists of 
"a hold for water to flow into boulders" below a set of 
steps. Above this point there are no evident drainage 
features (see Appendix E). One section contains water 
flowing down the steps, but most sections that cross 
intermittent streams or pass by springs are in poor con- 
dition. These sections should be repaired with capstone 
or graveled-over culverts, similar to those at the begin- 
ning of the trail. Open culverts, pipe culverts, and water 
bars would detract from the trail's character. 

5. Crossings 


6. Retaining Structures 

A. Checks: No checks are used, as they are a contem- 

porary addition to the Acadia trails. Use of checks 
should be avoided on this highly crafted, historic 

B. Coping: Coping stones are used to define the 
trail through the woods, under ledges, and along 
sections of stone pavement. Coping is also used to 
anchor steps in talus areas and on top of retaining 
walls. Most are relocated boulders of irregular sizes 
(Fig. 349-13). Some coping stones have toppled. 
These should be retrieved, reset, and in necessary, 
pinned in place with concealed pins. Additional 
compatible coping stones may be added as needed. 

C. Retaining Walls: There are extensive sections of 
rubble retaining walls, often in combination with 
coping. Several sections of retaining walls have 
collapsed (Figs. 349-14 & 349-15). Existing walls 
should be rehabilitated, and new additions should 
be compatible with the historic style. 

7. Steps 

There are extensive slab-laid and set-behind steps on 
the path (Figs. 349-14 to 349-18). The size of step and 
riser varies. This assortment of step size, some cut 
into rectangular blocks, others with uncut ends, helps 
to harmonize the steps with the natural surroundings. 
With the exception of steps located near water features, 
all steps are in excellent condition. Most are laid across 
ledges or through talus areas, which allow water to seep 
well under the trail. In order to lead hikers through 
rock formations, some sections of trail were built up 
with blocking and retaining walls. There are drill marks 
on steps and on nearby ledges (Figs. 349-19 & 349-20). 
Shims were used on some steps (Fig. 349-21). Reha- 
bilitation should maintain the variety of steps currently 
extant on the trail. 

8. Ironwork 

There is minimal iron on the trail. The circa-1915 
construction of the trail places it during a period when 
iron use was increasing. The existing iron is used to 
support slab-laid steps and coping stones on ledge 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

at approximately 850 and 930 feet up the trail (Figs. 
349-22 & 349-23). Additional concealed pins may 
be added to help hold steps in place. For example, a 
pin may be added to hold the bottom step of a run of 
steps to ensure that the staircase does not collapse with 
increased use. Pins should be added to secure stone- 
work prior to reopening the trail where high use will 
cause the steps to slip. Annual inspections may locate 
additional locations for pins. Use of concealed pins is 
preferred, rather than adding stone retaining walls or 
coping, to avoid altering the character of the trail. 

Fig. 349-17 Steps on ledge near upper end of trail. 

9. Guidance 

The steps serve as guidance, a technique employed by 
the VIA/VIS from the 1890s onward. Blazes, cairns, and 
scree should not be added to the trail. 

A. Blazes: None. 

B. Cairns: None. 

C. Directional Signs: Signs are needed at both 
ends of the trail. At the lower end of the trail, a 
vandal-proof trailhead post is needed; possibly two 
because of the fork. At the upper end an intersec- 
tion sign is needed. 

D. Informational Signs: An information sign or bro- 
chure box may be added at the base of the trail to 
interpret the history of the trail and its reopening. 

E. Scree: None. 

F. Trail Name: The trail should be named Homans 
Path with no apostrophe. 

10. Monuments and Associated Structures 

There is no evidence of monuments or structures 
associated with this trail, and none should be added. 


A series of photographs has be taken of the trail's stone- 
work prior to its official reopening in 2003 (Fig. 349- 
24). Each year the trail should be carefully inspected 
to determine whether the steps are slipping due to trail 
use. Altered sections should be repaired as soon as pos- 
sible, with the addition of concealed pins if necessary. 
This will prevent long sections of steps from slipping or 

Fig. 349-18 Several runs of smaller steps without coping and 
covered with moss are located about 550 to 600 feet up the trail. 


Section 2; #349. Homans Path 

Fig. 349-19 Hand showing drill marks on a nearby ledge where 
steps were quarried. 

Fig. 349-20 Stone step with drill mark. 

Fig. 349-21 Stone step with shims. 

Fig. 349-22 Detail of a pinned step on the Homans Path. 

Fig. 349-23 Stone steps pinned on ledge, side view. 

Fig. 349-24 Reopening of the Homans Path in 2003. 















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St. Germain, Thomas A., Jr., and John D. Saunders. Trails 
of History: The Story of Mount Desert Island's Paths from 
Norumbega to Acadia. Bar Harbor: Parkman Publica- 
tions, 1993. 

Stakely, J. Tracy, Margaret Coffin Brown, and Paul Wien- 
baum. National Register Nomination for the Hiking Trail 
System, Acadia National Park. United States Department 
of the Interior, National Park Service, Olmsted Center 
for Landscape Preservation, Draft March 1999. 

United States Department of the Interior, National Park 
Service. Hiking Trails Management Plan. February 2002. 

United States Department of the Interior, National Park 
Service. "Mission 66 for Acadia National Park," Harpers 
Ferry Center Library, Box ACAD, B2, ca. 1956. 

Village Improvement Societies of Bar Harbor, Northeast 
Harbor, Seal Harbor, and Southwest Harbor. A Path 
Guide ofMDI, Maine. 1915. 


Appendix A: Terminology 


abandoned trail 

Trail that is no longer mapped, marked, or maintained. 


A stone, wooden, or concrete substructure supporting the 
ends of abridge. 


See wheelchair accessible 


Americans With Disabilities Act; this legislation governs the 
construction of trails for people with disabilities, including 
physical aspects of the trail and which trails must be built 
in such a manner; ADA trail refers to a trail constructed 
according to such legislation to allow use by handicapped 

ADA trail 

A trail constructed according to the requirements of the 
Americans With Disabilities Act that allows access by 
people with disabilities; wheelchair accessible. 


A trail's placement on the landscape; route. 


Appalachian Mountain Club. 


The dip on the uphill side of the bar that directs most of 
the water off the trail before it gets to the bar itself; ideally 

backed waterbar 

A waterbar "backed" or held in place by steps or checks 
immediately on its downhill side. 


Fill material behind a structure. 

Bates-style cairn 

Cairn constructed in the manner of Waldron Bates's cairns, 
consisting of base stones, lintel, and pointer stones. 

Bates-style steps 

Steps constructed in the style of Waldron Bates; a rustic 
method of step construction. 


The slope of a wall face; batter is the relationship of rise 
to run, where rise is the height of the wall and run is the 
distance from vertical that the face recedes from founda- 
tion to top; this relationship is expressed in this document 
as "rise:run"; hence, a 2-foot tall wall that slopes back on 
foot is said to have a batter of 2:1. A wall may have a large or 
small batter, indicating the increasing degree to which the 
wall is sloped backwards from the base. 


Support log for the treadlogs of a bogwalk. 

See ledge. 


Technique of constructing steps in which each slab-laid 
step is shaped so that it "bellies" down behind the step on 
which it sets, thus locking it in. 

bench cut 

A side-hill or cross-slope treadway constructed by remov- 
ing material from the slope to create a flattened surface. 


Raised strip of soil, usually vegetated. 


One of a series of marks along a trail that indicates the loca- 
tion of the trail. 


Stones used to support or backfill building stones in a 
masonry structure; see also core. 

bog-style stepping stones 

Stepping stones used to cross boggy areas; see also stream- 
style stepping stones. 


Wooden walkway providing a raised, even and dry tread, 
usually through a wet area. 

borrow pit 

Pit along a trail from which material for trail construction 
was taken. 


Acadia Trails treatment plan 

breaking joints 

Principle of stonework in which the seam between any two 
stones is "broken" or overlaid with a single stone; one over 


A structure providing passage over an impediment such as 
a waterway, gully or crevice. 

broad paths 

Historic gravel paths in the Seal Harbor and Bar Harbor 

Brunnow-style steps 

Steps constructed in the style of Rudolph Brunnow, in 
which steps are laid as the top course of a retaining wall. 


The clearing of brush along a trail corridor. 


A low barrier, usually not over four inches high, placed 
along the side edges of a bridge; see curbrail. 


Trail marker that is a built or piled group of stones. 


(AMC term): way of setting rock so that it is laying down 
with its greatest surface area flat in the ground; oppose to 


A beam or member that extends past its support, resulting 
in an overhang. 

capstone culvert 

Closed culvert topped with one or more exposed treadway 

catch basin 

An excavated, constructed area at the entrance to a culvert 
designed to "catch" debris before it clogs the culvert. 


Constructed treadway raised above the level of the sur- 
rounding area; may be walled causeway, wall-less causeway, 
or stone causeway. 


Civilian Conservation Corps. 

character-defining features 

Exemplary characteristics of a historic structure, object or 
landscape that contribute to its historic character and aid in 
the understanding of its cultural construction. 


A constructed barrier in the trail that retains treadway 
material from moving down-grade; may be log, or a row of 
abutting stones with high contacts. 


Stuffed with the correct small stones to fill gaps left 
between building stones; process is called "chinking." 

climbing turn 

Gentle turn that reverses a trail's direction, designed to 
gain grade on a sidehill trail; the turn is less sharp than in a 

closed culvert 

Culvert closed at the top so that it is underneath the 

closed log culvert 

Closed culvert constructed of logs, usually surfaced with 
gravel; see gravelled-over bridges. 

colored paths 

Paths of a system developed under Herbert Jaques in Bar 
Harbor in the early 1900s in which each path was named 
for a color, or two colors; ex. "Green and Black Path"; all 
of these trails have been renamed, though some may be 
restored to historic color names. 

commemorative plaque 

In the Acadia trail system, a cast bronze plaque which is 
mounted on the face of a cliff, into a large boulder or onto a 
structure to commemorate individuals associated with the 
memorial trails. 

conical cairn 

AMC-style of cairn, constructed of a series of circular 
retaining walls that form a cone. 


Touching; a fundamental principle of sound masonry, in 
which all abutting building stones contact each other; see 
also high contact. 

control points 

Significant locations the trail is designed to access; primary 
considerations in the design of its route. 


Appendix A: Terminology 

coping retaining wall 

Coping wall that functions also as a retaining wall. 

coping stones 

Stones set at the edge of a treadway (or road) that protrude 
above the surface and act as guidance; they may be the 
top course of a retaining wall, assisting with its structural 

coping wall 

A continuous row of coping stones. 


Decking or treadway composed of continuous log rounds, 
or split logs with the round side up. 


Interior of a masonry structure, especially a retaining wall, 
in which it is the material between the face of the wall and 
the material being retained; provides structural integrity 
and drainage to the structure. 


Technique of construction, especially as used in shallowly 
battered walls, in which rocks are trapped partially behind 
rocks they are set on top of, and thus locked in. 


Slow movement of material down a slope. 


Wooden structure that retains material and/or acts as a pier 
for a bridge or bogwalk; see log cribs. 


Tread slope perpendicular to trail direction, or, a trail per- 
pendicular to the fall line. 


Refers to gravel paving that is raised in the middle to shed 
water to either side of the treadway. 


Structure that carries water across or under a treadway. 


A low barrier, usually not over 4 inches high, placed along 
the side edges of a bridge, parallel to the treadway; see 

cut stone 

Stone, usually rectilinear, that is the result of splitting a 
larger stone, usually by drilling and using feathers and 

cyclic maintenance 

Maintenance scheduled to take place at a given interval, 
such as annual drain cleaning. 


Walking surface constructed of planking, especially on a 

designed alignment 

An alignment laid out with consideration for factors other 
than control points, such as grade and treadway sustain- 

destination points 

The end points of a trail. 


See dog holes. 

direct alignment 

An alignment that takes the shortest feasible route to its 
control points. 

directional signs 

On the trail system, signs which locate and direct hikers. 


Earthen channel to direct water; usually a side drain, outlet 
ditch, or off-trail drainage. 

ditch and fill 

A technique used to treat wet areas whereby a ditch is dug 
along the side of the treadway and the resultant material is 
used to elevate the treadway; the result is similar to a cause- 
way but less constructed. 

dog holes 

Dimple-like depressions or shallow drill holes at opposing 
ends of stones; historically used to move large stones 
mechanically in conjunction with chain dogs and a 

Dorr-style steps 

Steps constructed in the style of George Dorr; a highly 
crafted method of step construction. 




Stonework constructed without the use of mortar or 
bonding agents; type of construction used in the Acadia 
trail system. 

endowed trails 

A specific group of historic trails whose maintenance 
was funded by an endowment; many of these are also 
memorial trails. 

engraved stone 

A boulder, step or stone into which language has been 
cut; in general, engraved stones associated with trails were 
located near one or both entrances to the trail and were 
engraved with the name of the trail. 

expansion bolt 

A bolt designed to anchor to rock by expanding when it is 


A piece of iron anchored into rock that has been bent at the 
end to form a circle, or "eye" for attaching something. 


The front, or exposed area, of a retaining wall. 

fall line 

The direct downhill line; the line which water takes as it 
descends a slope. 

fall-line route 

A direct route that follows the fall-line of a slope; a vulner- 
able route common to the Acadia system. 


Very small particles of soil; see silt. 

fitted wall 

Retaining wall constructed of stones fitted in between 
existing stones in the landscape, especially in a talus slope. 

flat notch 

Method of joining logs in which a flat surface is cut in each 
log, and the logs are joined at the flat surfaces. 

flat signs 

Planed wood signs mounted on posts; may be pointer 
signs or square signs. 


The bottom of a drainage channel. 


Base of a masonry structure, usually well below the surface 
of the ground. 

French drain 

A covered channel of stone laid underneath the trail sur- 
face or surrounding ground; a type of subsurface drain. 

fully constructed side drain 

Side drain fully constructed of stone, such as "V"-shaped 
and "U"-shaped side drains. 

geotextile material 

Synthetic cloth that allows water penetration while acting 
as a barrier to silt. 


As a descriptive term for alignment, the way a trail moves in 
response to the landscape; may be a small gesture or a large 


Slope; incline of a trail, usually expressed as a percentage of 
rise to run, or as an angle from horizontal. 

grade string 

See line. 

gravel paving 

Any treadway surfaced with gravel. 

graveled-over culvert 

Closed stone culvert overlaid with gravel paving. 

guidance features 

Features designed to direct hikers along a trail and contain 
hikers within the treadway. 


An eroded channel, usually carrying water. 


A rail at hand height; may be along a bridge or along a steep 
portion of a trail. 


Any stone set header style; in a retaining wall, a stone set in 
the face of the wall that penetrates the core, also called a tie 


Set with the length of the stone into the structure; strongest 
way of laying stone; as opposed to stretcher style. 


Appendix A: Terminology 

high contact 

Contact at the top of a row of stones; a technique for 
retaining surface material. 


A term used to describe a person, place or object that is 
significant to a culture. 

historic scree 

Scree that was constructed in a period of significance; 
generally more precise and attractive than contemporary 


A term that refers to periods or themes in history. 

historical significance 

Meaning or value based on evaluation criteria for inclu- 
sion on the National Register of Historic Places given to a 
district, site, building, structure, or object. These criteria 
are based on associations with important persons or events 
in American history, design characteristics, or pre-history. 


A central location at which a number of trails converge by 
design; such as at Sieur de Monts Spring. 

informational signs 

Non-historic signs in a variety of styles that convey infor- 
mation of many types about trails; also called "interpretive 


Tread cross-slope against the prevailing grade, i.e., towards 
the hillside. 


Sloping in towards higher ground, usually into the tread- 
way, or towards the core of a structure; the ideal type of 
slope for rocks in a masonry structure 


In the Acadia trail system, constructed iron features affixed 
to stone, for the purpose of either supporting structures or 
aiding hikers; such as a rung. 


In setting a rock, it means set into a space in which the rock 
is secured by other rocks, especially in reference to founda- 
tion stones or bottom steps secured by rocks or ledge in the 

laid coping 

Free-standing wall laid at the edge of the treadway. 

laid wall 

Laid retaining wall; retaining wall with a substantial verti- 
cal component in which rocks are interwoven. 

large gesture 

Movement of a trail dictated by design over small-scale 
features in the landscape; a large-gestured route will have 
many straight and evenly curving sections. 

lead wool 

A matted gathering of thin strands of lead, similar in 
appearance and consistency to steel wool; used to seal 
holes around iron work and thereby prevent rusting. 


Solid, continuous layer of rock; bedrock; slickrock. 


Mason's line; high-tensile string used as a reference for 
construction; string line; mason line; grade string. 


Stone that bridges a gap; part of any closed stone culvert or 
pipe culvert. 

live edge 

An edge of a log with the bark left on it. 

living wall 

Berm of vegetation and soil performing a retaining func- 
tion; see wall-less causeway. 

log crib 

Retaining structure constructed of logs; may be wall crib 
or treadway crib. 

log scree 

Scree made of logs or brush. 

log signs 

At Acadia, synonymous with trailhead signs; signs crafted 
from a single log which has a flat face cut on one or both 
sides on which information is routed. 

lowland route 

Route that follows the bottom of a contour or traverses a 
low or flat area. 

mason's line 
See line. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

memorial trails 

A specific group of historic trails built in memory of 
deceased persons; e.g., Emery Path. 

non-native species 

Any species not native to Acadia; no such plants should be 
used in revegetation. 


National Park Service. 

off-set intersection 

An intersection at which the ends of two connecting trails, 
or the segments of a single trail, do not line up at either side 
of the trail or road they cross. 

off-trail drainage 

Drainage away from the trail, usually ditching that directs 
water to trail drainages. 

one over two 

See breaking joints. 

open culvert 

Culvert with an open top. 

open log culvert 

Open culvert with log sides. 

open stone culvert 

Open culvert with stone sides and floor. 

outflow drain 
see outlet ditch 

outlet ditch 

Ditch at the outflow, or downhill side of a drainage; out- 
flow drain. 

outrigger bracing 

Bracing that triangulates from the outside of a bridge. 


Tread cross-slope with the prevailing grade, i.e., towards 
the downhill side. 


Sloping away from higher ground or core of a structure; 
outsloping rocks usually weaken a masonry structure. 


At Acadia, a highly constructed, easily-walked trail devel- 
oped by a VIA or VIS group. 


See stone pavement. 


Small rounded stone. 

perforated-pipe drain 

A type of subsurface drain in which perforated pipe is the 
main drainage channel. 


Support structure between bridge or bogwalk spans. 

piled coping 

See scree. 

piled wall 

Piled stones performing a retaining function. 


A straight piece of iron anchored vertically into stone for 
the purpose of securing other structures. 

pipe culvert 

Closed culvert, the channel of which is a pipe or pipes. 


Decking surface of milled boards. 

pole bridges 

Temporary bridge consisting of logs laid side by side into a 
wet area. 

pressure-treated wood 

Wood treated with chemicals to make it rot-resistant; most 
types of pressure-treated wood are not allowed for use at 
Acadia due to chemicals used in them. 

raised treadway 

Earthen treadway raised above surrounding ground; see 


The act of rebuilding a missing historic feature. 


A three-dimensional object with rectangular surfaces. 


To preserve the historic character of a property, while 
making allowances for new uses; measures are taken to 
preserve those historic features and characteristics that 
remain; compatible additions may be made for modern 


Appendix A: Terminology 


A section of trail that has been realigned. 

retaining wall 

Wall that holds one portion of ground higher than another; 
may be laid, rubble or piled. 


Reintroducing vegetation to an area that has been 

Ridge Runners 

In Acadia, a group that marks trails and assists visitors on 
the trails. 

ridge-line route 

A direct route that follows the top of a ridge. 


Cut in half lengthwise with a saw, pertains to logs used in 
bogwalks and bridges. 


Technique of trail construction in which a continuous 
stone treadway is constructed of many abutting, locked-in 
stones, many of which are individually narrower than the 
treadway width; riprap may be level, graded or terraced. 
Riprap is primarily a Western technique, and is not an 
historically appropriate method of construction on the 
Acadia trail system. "Riprapped" refers to any random- 
laid, continuous rock surface. 

riprap steps 

A series of tiers built in the style of riprap: randomly laid 
abutting stones; each tier consists of many stones laid so 
their tops form a single smooth surface. 


Amount of vertical distance, usually understood per hori- 
zontal distance, or run; see also slope. 


The alignment of a trail; its design, and placement on the 


Non-building stone used for fill, subgrade, or a drainage 

rubble wall 

Retaining wall laid less carefully than a laid wall; the face is 
irregular and the batter more shallow. 


Amount of horizontal distance, usually understood per 
vertical distance, or rise; see also slope. 


A horizontal piece of iron work for climbing; may be 
anchored into rock itself, or a crosspiece of a ladder. 

running joint 

Unbroken vertical seam in a masonry structure; a place of 
weakness; see also stack bond and breaking joints. 


A term used by Albert Good in Park Structures and Facili- 
ties (1938) to refer a design style "through the use of native 
materials in proper scale, and through the avoidance of 
rigid, straight lines, and over sophistication, gives the feel- 
ing of having been executed by pioneer craftsman with 
limited hand tools. It thus achieves sympathy with natural 
surroundings and with the past." 

saddle notch 

Method of joining logs in which a rounded cut is made in 
one log for the other log to fit into. 


The loss of material due to moving water, especially of a 
drainage floor. 


Stones, logs or other material piled along the sides of a trail 
to define the treadway; see also historic scree. 


Slow-moving underground water. 


Method of laying steps in which each step is set behind 
and with the bottom below the top of the step immediately 
below it; oppose to slab-laid. 


In masonry, a small rock used to support larger, building 
rocks in a masonry structure; usually a weak element. 

side drain 

A drain that runs parallel to the treadway; usually collects 
water from the uphill side of the trail and connects to cul- 
verts that direct water to the downhill side. 


Acadia Trails treatment Plan 

sidehill route 

A route that travels perpendicular to the fall-line along the 
side of a slope; a cross-slope route. 


Single-tier retaining wall that retains tread material, espe- 
cially in a walled causeway or walled side drain. 


A supporting timber set in the ground; a bridge sill sits at 
either end of the bridge, perpendicular to it. 


Fines left by moving water. 


The build-up of fines deposited by moving water; can clog 
subsurface drainage. 


Method of laying steps in which each step is set partially 
on top of, or overlapping, the step directly below it; as 
opposed to set-behind. 




Grade; the degree to which a surface is out of horizontal; 
calculated as rise divided by run, or expressed as the angle 
out of horizontal. 

small gesture 

Movement of a trail dictated by, or responsive to, small- 
scale features in the landscape, such as boulders or trees. 

social paths 

Paths developed by hikers to shortcut trail routes or access 
points of interest. 

spill point 

In a water bar or water dip, the point at which water leaves 
the trail. 


To prevent further deterioration of a landscape or structure 
using the least amount of intervention necessary. 

stack bond 

Rocks laid with a series of running joints. 

stacked cairn 

Cairn that consists of a single stack of stones. 


Iron uprights used to support a rail. 


A constructed feature that is a vertical rise onto a 
horizontal surface suitable for stepping. 

stepped-down railing 

Extension of a railing that angles down from the main 

stepping stones 

Stones set in a single row, a stepping distance apart, used to 
traverse streams or wet areas; may be bog-style or stream- 

stepstone culvert 

Open culvert with one or more stepstones in the drainage 

stone causeway 

A causeway constructed primarily of stones and having a 
surface of stone pavement. 

stone pavement 

Constructed continuous stone treadway. 

stream-style stepping stones 

Stepping stones used to cross streams; see also bog-style 
stepping stones. 

string line 

See line. 


A long horizontal timber to connect uprights in a frame or 
to support a floor. 

subgrade drainage 

Non-channeled subsurface drainage that consists of clean 
stone rubble that allows percolation of seepage; an essen- 
tial element of tread construction. 

subsurface drain 

Drain hidden beneath the treadway, mainly used to handle 
seepage; also called "hidden" or "blind" drain. 

support wall 

Retaining wall that supports the treadway. 


Appendix A: Terminology 


Water dip; an angled depression, or reversal in grade, 
designed to direct water to the side of the trail; as part of a 
water bar, called the apron. 


A designed element of a trail's alignment in which a side- 
hill trail reverses direction in order to gain grade. 

switchback route 

A route that primarily consists of switchbacks. 


Rock piles and debris reposed at an angle, usually at the 
base of a cliff; also called a "talus slope" or "talus field." 

talus pavement 

Stone pavement constructed through a talus field. 


Flat, raised area; checks and terrace steps create a series of 
stable terraces as the treadway. 

terrace steps 

Non-abutting steps spaced to create terraces of tread mate- 
rial between them. 

tie rock 

In a retaining wall, a long face stone that penetrates the 
core; usually set header-style. 


Row of face stones in a retaining wall. 

tiered wall 

Retaining wall in which rocks are laid on top of other rocks 
in the face; oppose to single-tier wall and sidewall. 


Flat stones laid into a drainage floor, then called "tiled." 


(AMC term): way of setting rock so that it is straight up 
and down in the ground so that it resembles a stood-up 
piece of toast; weakest style of setting stone; opposite of 

trail braiding 

When multiple paths become used in addition to or instead 
of the treadway. 

trail corridor 

The space occupied by the trail and its features, including 
the brushed area above the treadway. 

trailhead signs 

At Acadia, synonymous for log signs; signs crafted from a 
single log which has a flat face cut on one or both sides on 
which information is routed; or any sign at the beginning 
of a trail. 


The walking surface of the trail. 

tread pavement 

Stone pavement constructed in a soil treadway. 


Milled, ripped or topped log used as the treadway of a 


The walking surface of the trail. 

treadway crib 

Log crib constructed in the treadway, acting as checks and 


Smaller water courses that feed into larger ones. 


An assemblage of members (such as beams) forming a rigid 


A raised treadway supported on each side with logs. 

unconstructed tread 

Natural treadway with no constructed features. 

uncut stone 

Stone that has not been shaped; natural stone. 

U-shaped side drain 

Stone side drain in which rounded or square stones rein- 
force the sides of a ditch in a U-shape. 

varied woodland route 

A type of direct route that traverses different kinds of 



veneer wall 

Retaining wall in which there is no core and face stones do 
not penetrate the interior of the wall; a weak structure. 


Village Improvement Association; either Bar Harbor or 
Seal Harbor. 


Broad range of vision, expansive or panoramic, usually of 
scenic elements. 


Village Improvement Society; either Seal Harbor or North- 
east Harbor. 


The controlled prospect of a discrete range of vision, 
which is deliberately contrived, typically associated with 
constructed landscapes, usually of scenic elements. 

V-shaped side drain 

Stone side drain in which flat stones are set perpendicular 
to each other in the shape of a V. 

wall crib 

Log crib, consisting of rail pieces and ties, that acts as a 
retaining wall. 

walled causeway 

A raised gravel or soil treadway supported on both sides 
with retaining walls. 

wall-less causeway 

Raised gravel or soil treadway constructed without retain- 
ing walls; gravel is contained on each side with berm or 
living wall. 

water dip 

An angled depression in the treadway that diverts water 
from the trail surface; a reversal in grade. 

water bar 

A drainage structure consisting of a depression crossing a 
treadway which is reinforced by a log or row of abutting 
rocks; the main function of a waterbar is to divert water 
flowing down a graded treadway. 


Process by which ironwork is anchored into rock; the end 
of the iron is slit and a wedge inserted that spreads the iron 
once it is driven into a hole. 

wheelchair accessible 

Trail constructed according to ADA standards, especially 
concerning grade, to allow access by wheelchairs; ADA 


Appendix B: Trail List 


1 Trail Name 

Trail Number 


Year Built 

Andrew Murray Young Path 




Acadia Mountain Trail 




Amphitheatre Trail 



1911, 1917 

Amphitheatre Trail, north 




Amphitheatre Trail, south 




Anemone Cave Trail 



1934 (reopened by NPS 1960) 

Asticou and Jordan Pond Path, see Asticou Trail 

Asticou Brook Trail 




Asticou Hill (Eliot Mtn) to Little Harbor Brook 



circa 1921 

Asticou Inn Trail 



circa 1926 

Asticou Path, see Asticou Trail 

Asticou Ridge Trail 



1885, 1914 

Asticou Trail 



circa 1881 

Asticou Trail, see Pond Hill Trail 

Aunt Bettys Pond Path 



1867, 1900 

Bald Peak Trail 



1932 (reopened by NPS 1980) 

Bar Island Trail 



1867 (reopened by NPS 1990) 

Barr Hill Path 



1896, 1900 

Barr Hill/Redfield Hill to Jordan Pond 



circa 1896 

Bass Harbor Head Light Trail 



circa 1900 

Beachcroft Path 



1871, 1890, 1915, 1926 

Bear Brook Trail 



1867, 1890, 1934 

Beech Cliff Ladder Trail 



1936, 1937, circa 1941 

Beech Cliff Loop Trail 



1871, 1906 

Beech Cliff Trail to Lurvey Spring, see Echo Lake to 

Lurvey Spring 

Beech Cliff Trail, see Canada Cliffs Trail 

Beech Cliff, path along 



circa 1871 

Beech Hill Road, see Valley Trail 

Beech Mountain Loop Trail 



circa 1906 

Beech Mountain Road Path, see also Valley Trail 



circa 1762 

Beech Mountain South Ridge Trail 



circa 1915 

Beech Mountain Trail, see Beech Mountain Road Path or Beech Mountain West Ridge 


Beech Mountain West Ridge Trail 



circa 1915 

Beechcroft Trail (see Beachcroft Path) 

Beehive Trail 




Beehive, West 



1874, 1894, 1916 

Bernard Mountain Ski Trail, see Bernard Mountain South Face Trail 

Bernard Mountain South Face Trail 



circa 1915 

Bicycle Path 



1890, 1895 

Bicycle Path Connector 




Birch Brook Trail 



circa 1909 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

1 Trail Name Trail Number 


Year Built 

Black and Blue Path 



circa 1896 

Black and White Path 




Black Path, see Bear Brook Trail, Bowl Trail, and Cadillac Cliffs to Otter Creek 

Black Woods Trail 




Blue and White Path 



circa 1893 

Blue Path 



circa 1893 

Bluff Trail, see Jordan Cliffs Trail 

Bowl Trail 



1874, 1892 

Boyd Road/Path 



circa 1893 

Bracken Path 




Bracken Path extension 




Bracy Cove Road/Path 



circa 1893 

Breakneck Road/Path 



1777, 1923 

Brigham Path/Red & Black Path 




Brigham to Beehive Connector 




Brown Mountain, North 




Brown Path, upper half, see Bowl Trail 

Brown Path, lower half, see Beehive West 

Brown Path to Beehive Connector 




Browns Mountain Path, see Norumbega Mountain Trail 

Bubble Mountain Path, see North Bubble Trail 

Bubble Mountain South Cliff Trail, see South Bubble Cliff Trail 

Bubble and Jordan Ponds Path (#20), see Pond Trail 

Bubble Pond Carry 



1874, 1931 

Bubble Pond Path, see Pond Trail 

Bubbles-Pemetic Trail/Northwest Trail 



circa 1926 

Burnt Bubble Path, see Burnt Bubble South End Path 

Burnt Bubble South End Path 



circa 1896 

Cadillac Cliffs Path to Thunder Hole, part of 




Cadillac Cliffs Trail, see Gorham/Cadillac Cliffs Trail 

Cadillac Cliffs to Otter Creek/Black Trail 




Cadillac Mountain East Ridge Trail 



1874, 1919 

Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail 



1850, 1931, 1935 

Cadillac Mountain South Ridge Trail 



1874, 1896 

Cadillac Mtn. South Ridge Trail, Eagles Crag 




Cadillac Path 




Cadillac Summit Loop Trail 




Cadillac West Face Trail/Steep Trail 




Cadillac-Dorr Trail 



1871, 1890 

Canada Cliffs Cutoff 



circa 1926 

Canada Cliffs to Dog Connector 




Canada Cliffs Trail 



circa 1911 


Appendix B: Trail List 

| Trail Name Trail Number 


Year Built 


Canada Ridge Trail, see Canada Cliffs Trail 

Canon Brook Trail 



1900, 1930 

Canon Brook Trail, eastern end 



1900, 1924 

Canyon Brook Trail, see Canon Brook Trail 

Canyon Path, see Canon Brook Trail 

CCC Trail, see Spring Trail 

Cedar Mountain Cutoff 




Cedar Swamp Mountain Trail, see Sargent Mountain South Ridge Trail 

Cedar Swamp Mountain, path up 



circa 1901 

Center Trail 



circa 1911 

Champlain Mountain East Face Trail/Orange & Black Path 12 


1913, 1942 

Champlain Monument Cutoff 



circa 1916 

Champlain Monument Path 




Champlain Trail, to Seal Harbor tennis 




Chasm Brook Trail, see Chasm Path 

Chasm Path/Waldron Bates Memorial Path 



1903, 1910 

Church Lane Path 



circa 1915 

Circular Trail 




Cliff Path, see Gorham/Cadillac Cliffs Trail 

Cliff Path to Great Cave 




Cliff Trail 



circa 1930 

Cliff Trail, see Precipice Path 

Cold Brook Trail 



circa 1893 

Conners Nubble Path, see Burnt Bubble South End Path 

County Road Cutoff 



circa 1893 

Cross Roads Path 



circa 1915 

Cross Trail, Birch Brook to Upland Road 



circa 1909 

Cross Trail, south of Mitchell Hill 



circa 1915 

Curran Path 



1885, 1930 

Cutoff Path 



circa 1896 

Cutoff Trail between Pond Trail and Seaside Trail 415 



Dane Path 




Day Mountain Caves Trail/Valley Trail 




Day Mountain Trail 




Day Mountain Trail, Lower, see Champlain Monument Path 

Deep Brook Trail 



circa 1765 

Deer Brook Trail 



circa 1896 

Dog Mountain Trail, see Saint Sauveur Trail 

Dole Trail 



circa 1915 

Dorr Mountain Branch 




Dorr Mountain East Face Trail, see Emery Path and Schiff Path 

Dorr Mountain North and South Ridge Trails 



1871, 1890, 1896, 



Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

| Trail Name 

Trail Number 


Year Built 

Dorr property paths 



circa 1960 

Dry Mountain Branch, see Dorr Mountain Branch 

Dry Mountain Path extension 



circa 1896 

Duck Brook Path 



1760, 1874, 1890 

Eagle Cliff Trail, see Valley Peak Trail 

Eagle Crag Loop 




Eagle Lake Connector 



circa 1903 

Eagle Lake Trail 




Eagle Lake, East Shore, north section 



circa 1903 

Eagle Lake, West Shore, see Eagle Lake Trail 

Eagles Crag Foot 




Eagles Crag Path, see Eagle Crag Loop 

East Peak Trail 



circa 1917 

East Ridge Trail 




Echo Lake Ledges 



circa 1970 

Echo Lake Trail 



circa 1915 

Eliot Mountain Trail to Map House 



circa 1885 

East Face Trail, see Champlain East Face Trail, Emery Path, Schiff Path, 

or Mansell Mountain Trail 

East Jordan Path, see Jordan Pond Path 

East Peak from Great Pond 




East Peak Trail, see Mansell Mountain Trail 

East Ridge Trail, see Cadillac Mountain East Ridge 


Echo Lake Ledges 




Echo Lake to Lurvey Spring 




Echo Lake Trail 




Echo Point Trail 




Eliot Mountain (Asticou Hill) 

Eliot Mountain Trail, see Asticou Ridge Trail 

Eliot Mountain Trail to Map House 



1885, 1896 

Eliot Mountain to Thuja Lodge 



circa 1901 

Emery Path/Dorr Mtn. E Face Trail 



1916, 1934 

Fawn Pond Path 



1902, 1907, 1923, 1935 

Flying Mountain Trail 



1871, 1938 

Giant Slide Trail/ Pulpit Rock Trail 




Gilley Trail 



circa 1911 

Goat Trail, Pemetic Mountain 



circa 1896 

Goat Trail, see Norumbega Mountain Trail 

Golf Club Trail 



circa 1901 

Golf Links to Norumbega Mountain 




Gorge Path 



1871, 1890, 1929 

Gorge Path to Kebo, east side 




Gorge Path to Kebo, west side 



circa 1903 


Appendix B: Trail List 

1 Trail Name 

Trail Number 


Year Built 

Gorge Road Path 



1760, circa 1913 

Gorham Mtn. Trail (formerly Black Path) 



1906, 1913 

Gorham/Cadillac Cliffs Trail 




Grandgent Trail 



1932 (reopened by NPS 1980) 

Great Cave Path, see Cliff Path 

Great Head Trail 



1844, 1867 

Great Hill from Cleftstone Road 




Great Hill from Woodbury Park 




Great Hill Path 



circa 1901 

Great Hill to Duck Brook 



circa 1901 

Great Meadow Loop 




Great Notch Trail 



circa 1915 

Great Notch Trail, see also Sluiceway Trail 

Great Pond Road/Path 



circa 1765 

Great Pond to Beech Hill 



circa 1896 

Great/Long Pond Trail 




Great Pond Trail 



circa 1896 

Green and Black Path 



1901, 1924 

Green and White Path 



1875, 1892 

Green Mountain Trail 



circa 1896 

Gurnee Path 




Hadlock Brook/ Waterfall Trail 



1871, 1915 

Hadlock Ponds Path, see Hadlock Trail 

Hadlock Trail, lower 




Hadlock Trail, upper 



circa 1881 

Hadlock Valley Path, see Jordan Pond Carry Path 

Half Moon Pond Path 



1885, 1896 

Harbor Brook Trail, see Little Harbor Brook Trail 

Harborside Inn Trail 



circa 1901 

Harden Farm Path, see Stratheden Path 

Hemlock Road/Spring Road 



circa 1916 

Hemlock Trail 




Homans Path 




Huguenot Head to Otter Creek Road 



circa 1896 

Hunters Beach Trail 



circa 1893 

Hunters Brook Trail 



1919, 1937 

Hunters Brook Trail, lower 




Hunters Brook Trail, upper 




Hunters Cove, South Ridge Trail connector 



circa 1896 

Indian Path, see Dry Mountain Path extension 

Ingraham Rocks Path 



circa 1896 

Jesup Path 



1760, 1895, 1916 



1 Trail Name Trail Number 


Year Built 

Jesup Path to Cromwell Harbor Road 




Jordan and Bubble Ponds Path, see Pond Trail 

Jordan Bluffs Trail 



circa 1930 

Jordan Brook Path, see Jordan Stream Trail 

Jordan Cliffs Trail/ Sargent East Cliff Trail 



1896, circa 1926 

Jordan Cliffs Trail, see Penobscot East Trail 

Jordan Mountain Trail 



circa 1871 

Jordan Pond Carry Path 



pre-1760, 1885, 1931 

Jordan Pond Carry Spur 



circa 1980 

Jordan Pond House Trail 




Jordan Pond Loop Trail, see Jordan Pond Path 

Jordan Pond Path 



1896, 1898 

Jordan Pond Nature Trail (current location) 




Jordan Pond Nature Trail (original location) 




Jordan Pond Seaside Trail, see Seaside Path 



1893, 1901, 1903 

Jordan Pond to Cliffs 



circa 1941 

Jordan Pond to Pemetic Ridge Trail, see Steepway Trail 

Jordan South End Path 



1896, 1914 

Jordan Stream Trail 



1760, 1901, 1908, 1931 

Kaighn Trail 




Kane Path/ Tarn Trail 




Kebo Brook Path 




Kebo Mountain Path/Dorr Mountain N & S Ridge 



1871, 1890, 1896, 1898 

Kebo Mountain Trail, from Kebo Valley Club 




Kebo Mountain, east side 



circa 1871 

Kebo Valley Club to Toll House 




Kurt Diederich's Climb 




Ladder Trail 



1871, 1896, 1935 

Ledge Trail 



circa 1915 

Ledge Trail, South 



circa 1915 

Little Brown Mountain Path 




Little Brown Mountain Trail, see Parkman Mountain Trail 

Little Harbor Brook to Eliot House 



circa 1901 

Little Harbor Brook Trail 




Little Hunters Beach Path from Boyd Road 




Little Hunters Brook Path to Cove 



circa 1896 

Little Notch Trail, see Sluiceway Trail 

Little Precipice Trail, see Beehive Trail 

Long Pond Road/Trail in Seal Harbor 




Long Pond Trail, see Great/Long Pond Trail 

Long Pond Trail, see Great Pond Trail 

Lovers Lane 



circa 1762 


Appendix B: Trail List 

| Trail Name Trail Number 


Year Built 

Lower Hadlock Pond, east side 




Mansell Mountain Trail 



1765, 1893, 1911 

Maple Spring Trail 




McFarland Path 



1885, 1893 

Mitchell Hill Path 



1901, 1909 

Mitchell Hill Road, see West Side Long Pond, Seal Harbor 

Moss Trail, see Bernard Mountain South Face Trail 

Murphy's Lane, see Blue Path 

Newport Mountain Path, see Bear Brook Trail 

North Bubble Trail 



1871, 1897, 1929 

North/Middle Bubble Cliff Trail 




Northwest Trail, see Bubbles-Pemetic Trail 

Norumbega Mountain Trail/Goat Trail 



1881, 1885, 1903 

Norumbega Lower Hadlock to Goat Trail 



circa 1941 

Norwood Cove Trail 



circa 1765 

Notch Trail 




Oak Hill to Bernard Mountain 



circa 1906 

Oak Hill Trail 



circa 1937 

Ocean Drive Trail, see Ocean Path 

Ocean Cliff Path 



1896, 1906 

Ocean Path 



1874, 1937 

Old Farm Road/Sols Cliff Path 



circa 1913 

Old Trail, see Pemetic West Cliff Trail 

Orange and Black Path 




Otter Cliff Path, see also Ocean Path 



1896, 1906 

Otter Cove Road/Path 



circa 1896 

Otter Cove, trail to 




Ox Hill Path 



1896, 1903 

Ox Hill Summit to Day Mountain 



circa 1896 

Ox Hill Summit, east 



circa 1903 

Parkman Mountain Trail 




Parkman to Gilmore 



circa 1932 

Peak of Otter, see Ocean Cliff Path 

Pemetic Mountain Trail/Southeast 



1871, 1893, 1896 

Pemetic Mountain, southeast side, see Valley Trail Connector 



circa 1917 

Pemetic Mountain Valley Trail 



circa 1917 

Pemetic West Cliff Trail/Old Trail 



circa 1874 

Penobscot East Trail 



circa 1901 

Penobscot Mountain Trail/Spring Trail 



1871, 1896, 1917 

Perpendicular Trail 



circa 1937 

Pine Hill to Bernard Mountain 



circa 1906 

Pine Hill to Deep Brook 



circa 1906 


Acadia trails Treatment plan 

1 Trail Name 

Trail Number 


Year Built 

Pine Hill Trail 



circa 1937 

Pine Hill Trail, see also Western Mountain Trail 

Pine Tree Trail 



circa 1896 

Pines Path, see The Pines Path 

Pipe Line Path 




Pond Hill Trail/Asticou Trail 



circa 1903 

Pond Trail 



1874, 1896, 1929 

Pond Trail to Bubble Pond (original route) 




Potholes Path 



1896, 1906 

Potholes to Eagles Crag, see Eagles Crag Foot 

Precipice Trail 




Pretty Marsh Picnic Area Trail/Road 




Pulpit Rock Trail, see Giant Slide Trail 

Quarry Trail, Northeast Harbor 




Quarry Trail, Southeast Harbor 



circa 1915 

Razorback Trail 



1765, 1915, 1919 

Red and Black Path, see Brigham Path 

Red and White Path 



circa 1893 

Red and Yellow Path 



circa 1896 

Red Path 




Reservoir Trail 



circa 1896 

Ridge Trail, see Kebo Valley Club to Toll House 

Robinson Road 



1874, 1938 

Royal Fern Path 




Saint Sauveur Trail 



1874, 1915 

Sand Beach - Great Head Access 



circa 1990 

Sargent Brook Trail, see Giant Slide Trail 

Sargent Mountain North Ridge Trail 




Sargent Mountain South Ridge Trail 



circa 1871 

Sargent Pond Trail 



1896, 1921 





Schoolhouse Ledge Trail 



circa 1896 

Schooner Head Road Path 



circa 1901 

Schooner Head Road to Otter Creek Road, see Bicyc) 

le Path Connector 

Seal Cove Pond to Bernard Mountain 



circa 1906 

Seal Cove Pond to Seal Cove Road 



1896, 1906 

Seal Harbor Village path 



circa 1906 

Seal Harbor Village path 



circa 1906 

Seaside Path 



1893, 1901, 1903 

Ship Harbor Nature Trail 




Shore Path, Bar Harbor 



circa 1874 

Shore Path, Hunters Beach 





Appendix B: Trail List 

| Trail Name Trail Number 


Year Built 

Shore Path, Northeast Harbor 



circa 1928 

Shore Path, Seal Harbor 



circa 1896 

Shore Path, see Ocean Path 

Shore Trail, Hunters Beach to Otter Cove 




Short Trail to Hunters Beach, see Hunters Beach Trail 

Sieur de Monts-Tarn Trail/Wild Gardens Path 



1913 (reopened by NPS 1990) 

Skidoo Trail 




Slide Trail 



circa 1874 

Sluiceway Trail 



circa 1911 

Sols Cliff Path, see Old Farm Road 

Somes Sound Road, see Southwest Valley Road Path 

Somesville Carry Trail 



pre 1760 

Somesville Road Trail 



circa 1915 

South Bubble Cliff Trail 



1928, 1931 

South Bubble Trail 



circa 1896 

South End Path, see Jordan South End Path 

South Face Trail, see Bernard Mountain South Face Trail 

Southeast Trail, see Pemetic Mountain Trail 

Southwest Pass 



circa 1885 

Southwest Shore Trail, see Eagle Lake Trail 

Southwest Valley Road/Path 



1867, 1893 

Spring Road, See Hemlock Road 

Spring Trail, see Penobscot Mountain Trail 

Spring Trail/ CCC Trail 



circa 1911 

Squirrel Brook Trail 




Stanley Brook Path 




Stanley Brook, Seaside Lower Connector 




Stanley Brook, Seaside Upper Connector 




Steep Trail 



circa 1941 

Steep Trail, see Cadillac West Face Trail 

Steepway Trail 




Stratheden Path 



1895, 1913 (reopened by NPS 1990) 

Strawberry Hill to Otter Creek Road 




Sweet Fern Path 




Tarn Trail 




Tarn Trail, see Kane Path 

Tea House Path 



1897, 1903 

The Pines Path 



1896, 1915 

Thuja Lodge Trail, see Eliot Mountain Trail 

Tilting Rock, trail to 




Toll House Path 




Triad Pass Path, see Triad Pass 



| Trail Name Trail Number 


Year Built 

Triad Pass Trail, see also Van Santvoord Loop Trail 




Triad Pass, south 



1893, 1912 

Triad Path, east 



1896, 1912 

Triad-Hunters Brook Trail, see Hunters Brook Trail 

Turtle Lake and Jordan Pond Path, see Pond Trail 

Upper Ladder Trail 



1871, 1896 

Valley Cove Trail/Road 

626, 105 


1871, 1938 

Valley Peak Trail 



1871, 1915 

Valley Trail 



1762, 1930 

Valley Trail Pemetic Connector 




Van Santvoord Trail, see also Triad Pass Trail 



1915, 1917 

Village Path to Ox Hill Ledge, see Ox Hill Path 

Waldron Bates Memorial Path, see Chasm Path 

Waterfall Trail, see Hadlock Brook Trail 

Water Pipe Path 



pre 1760, circa 1896 

Water Pipe Trail/Golf Links to Lower 



circa 1901 

Water Tower Trail/Harborside Trail, see Reservoir Trail 

West Beehive, see Beehive West 

West Jordan Path, see Jordan Pond Path 

West Side Long Pond, Seal Harbor 




West Slope Trail, see Cadillac West Face Trail 

Western Mountain Road/Path 



circa 1765 

Western Mountain Trail 



circa 1911 

Western Mtn. West Ledge Trail 



1937, (reopened by NPS 1993) 

Western Mountain West Ridge Trail, see Western Mountain West Ledge 


Western Point, trail to 




White Path 



circa 1893 

Wild Gardens Path 




Wild Gardens Path, west 




Wild Gardens Path, see also Sieur de Monts-Tarn Trail 

Wildwood Farm Trail 



circa 1896 

Wildwood, connector 



circa 1896 

Wire Gate Path 



circa 1894 

Witch Hole Path 




Witch Hole Pond Loop 



1910, 1924 

Wood Lane over Asticou Hill, see Asticou Ridge Trail 

Woodbury Park Path 



circa 1896 

Woods Road Path 



circa 1915 

Yellow and Black Path, see Orange and Black Path 

Yellow and White Path 



1875, 1893 

Yellow and White Path, lower half, see Bowl Trail 

Yellow Path 



circa 1893 

Youngs Mountain Trail 



circa 1941 


Appendix G Trail Naming Justification 


As discussed in Chapter 9, Section G, many trail 
names have changed over the past century. 
However, trail names are used on signs, 
maps, in guidebooks and other documents. Having 
one designated name reduces hiker confusion and can 
reflect the history and geography of the island. As part 
of this treatment plan, the current names were care- 
fully examined and evaluated, particularly with regard 
to their historic origin. The following recommenda- 
tions for trail naming were developed by Acadia's Trail 
Names Committee (Chris Barter, Judy Hazen Connery, 
Charlie Jacobi, Gary Stellpflug, Lee Terzis) in February 
2002. Sources used during the decision-making process 

• A Path Guide ofMDI, Maine (1915, Village Improve- 
ment Societies of Bar Harbor, et al.) 

• Walks on Mount Desert Island (1928, Harold 
Peabody and Charles Grandgent) 

• Paths and Trails of Northeast Harbor and Vicinity 
(1914, Northeast Harbor VIS) 

• Pathmakers: Cultural Landscape Report, Volume 1 
(2006, Margaret Coffin Brown) 

• Path maps for Mount Desert Island (1896 to 

• Extant historic signs and photographs that depict 
historic signs 

• Recommendations of David Goodrich (open letter 
to Friends of Acadia, June 1995, and open letter to 
Gary Stellpflug, February 24, 2003). 


The Acadia Trail Names Committee established a series 
of considerations that would inform their decisions as 
listed below. 

Reasons to restore a historic name: 

1. To restore another aspect of a trail to its historic 

2. When the old name tells a story, indicating some- 
thing meaningful about the past 

3. When the old name honors someone, especially if 
funded as a memorial 

4. If the currently used name is confusing 

5. When the current name is the result of recent 

6. If the historic name is associated with physical 
features, such as carved stone markers or plaques 

Reasons not to change a trail name: 

1. When the return to an old name would be 

2. When the old name was taken from a place name 
that has since changed or a feature no longer 

3. When a substantial portion of the route has been 

When only a portion of the original trail is being 
used as part of another route 
When name restorations would produce many 
small trail pieces with different names 




The use of the term "path" to refer to walking routes 
as highly constructed and extensive as those in Acadia 
may be unique to this trail system. "Path" was used 
by the VIA/VIS groups, and was a common term in 
literature and on maps until the 1930s, when the CCC 
and NPS began calling all walking routes "trails." The 
VIA/VIS path maps produced in the early 1900s labeled 
all trails as paths. However, even in early references 
such as the 1915 and 1928 path guides, not all trails were 
called paths, and there was inconsistency even within 
the same guidebook. 

During the VIA/VIS period, the prevailing term for 
a certain kind of route was "path," as evidenced by 
carved stone markers at trailheads and the very term 
"Path Committee" used by the groups. A path was typi- 
cally highly constructed and not too rugged, though not 
necessarily flat. For instance, the Seaside and Emery 
routes are "paths," while the Goat and Precipice routes 



are "trails." An insight into the use of the term can be 
found on page 35 of Peabody and Grandgent's 1928 
Walks on Mount Desert Island, describing the route of 
the A. Murray Young Trail as it becomes flatter and 
more easily walkable: "After passing small waterfall, 
trail becomes a path." 

In those cases where both terms are used, it seems 
that "path" was often the proper name of a route, and 
that "trail" was a general term. Hence, the Bubble and 
Jordan Ponds Path was usually referred to as such, but 
the guidebook indicates, "Take the trail to Jordan Pond." 
To further complicate the issue, some routes in the 
VIA/VIS period use neither term, but instead, "carry," 
"climb," or "pass." This wasn't always consistent, either; 
the Jordan Pond Carry is sometimes referred to as "The 
Carry Path" in historic references. 

We recommend returning to the term "path," and 
"climb," "carry," and "pass" in those specific cases in 
which they are appropriate. The term "path" will be 
used for those trails established by the VIA/VIS build- 
ers before 1934, where more or less continuous crafts- 
manship is evident, which are not rugged climbs, and 
which were traditionally called paths. 


Below are seven types of trail names currently found in 
Acadia. The section that follows provides recommen- 
dations for preserving this historic typology. 

1. Location Names 

These trails were named for their location, such as the 
Jordan Pond Path or the Cadillac North Ridge Trail. 

2. Colored Names 

These trails were given individual color names, such as 
the Red and White Path. The colored system was devel- 
oped at the turn of the century by Herbert Jaques and is 
located east of Dorr Mountain. Colored names were no 
longer used after 1959 (Goodrich). 

3. Memorial Names 

These trails were named in honor of deceased persons, 
and their construction and maintenance was usually 
funded with the understanding the trail name would 
remain consistent. These paths were built in the first 
two decades of the twentieth century and represent 
some of the most highly crafted trail work in the 

We understand this may cause confusion, especially 
as all the other routes will be called trails. However, 
we cite some compelling reasons for the change. First 
and foremost, the term "path" is unique to Acadia, and 
refers to trails whose craftsmanship is also unique to 
Acadia. This term, simply by being unique, will imme- 
diately suggest that there is something different about 
these trails and may lead hikers to a better understand- 
ing of the importance of Acadia's trail system. Further, 
"path" is the term used by the VIA/VIS groups who 
created most of the system as we know it, and use of 
that term preserves a part of the history of these groups. 
Finally, the term is used on a number of historic stone 
and brass monuments that are still extant on the trails 

4. Person Names 

These trails were named after individuals or families 
that were landowners and were not generally endowed. 
Examples include the McFarland Path up Sargent, 
Curran Path along Eagle Lake, and Kaighn Path on 
Western Mountain. 

5. Route Names 

These trails were named for the nature of their route. 
A strenuous route was often so indicated, as with the 
Precipice Trail and Goat Trail. 

6. Feature Names 

These trails were named for a specific feature on or 
along that trail, such as the Hemlock Path, Potholes 
Path, Giant Slide Trail, Jordan Cliffs Trail, and Spring 


Appendix G Trail Naming Justification 

7. Destination Names 

These trails were named for one or both destinations of 
the trail, such as the Seaside Path, which traveled from 
Jordan Pond to the long-gone Seaside Inn near the 
beach at Seal Harbor, or the Asticou and Jordan Pond 
Path, which connects the two mentioned locales. 



Historically, ridge trails running north-south were gen- 
erally named for the mountains they ascended, while 
trails climbing east-west routes, or some other route 
(such as circling the summit, or taking a route below the 
ridge), were often not. This is probably because ridge 
trails were established first, being the easiest ascents. 

Use Current Mountain Names: Island-wide, most of 
the mountain names have changed since the historic 
period, and mostly the trail names have changed with 
them. There is little argument for returning trail names 
to mountain names that are no longer used and do not 
appear on contemporary maps. Such a renaming would 
not only be confusing, it would actually go against 
the historic precedent of naming ridge trails for their 

Eliminate Redundancy: Historically, use of the word 
"mountain" in trail names has been inconsistent. For 
instance, Dry Mountain Trail versus Pemetic Trail. In 
addition, names that refer to mountain features, such 
as ridge trails or "face" trails, can become a mouthful 
when the word mountain is used as well — for example, 
The Cadillac Mountain North Ridge Trail. In fact, the 
word "mountain" is redundant when a mountain fea- 
ture (such as ridge, face, or cliff) has already been speci- 
fied in the name. We also found that the preponderance 
of historical names of mountain-feature type did not 
use the word "mountain," while most names that did 
not specify a feature of a mountain did use the word 

"mountain." Hence, we decided to streamline the pro- 
cess and use the word "mountain" in all trails named 
for a mountain in which a feature of that mountain is 
not part of the name, and to not use the word when a 
feature of the mountain is already in the name. 

Dorr (#21), Cadillac (#34 and #26), Bear Brook (#10), 
and Pemetic (#31) North and South Ridge Trails 

Recommended names: Dorr, Cadillac, Champlain, and 
Pemetic North and South Ridge Trails 

According to the earliest trail maps, only the ridge route 
over Cadillac Mountain was divided into two trails, a 
North and South Ridge Trail. However, a number of 
trails were referred to in the hiking guides as "north 
ridge"or "south ridge" trails, and so did historical 
signs. The problem of whether to continue the current 
practice of dividing many ridge trails into a "north" 
and "south" ridge trail was discussed at length in com- 
mittee. The initial thought was to restore ridge trails 
to their historic integrity in this regard: for instance, 
restoring the Dorr Mountain North and South Ridge 
Trails to one trail, Dorr Mountain Trail, since the origi- 
nal trail was called the Dry Mountain Trail. However, 
the issue of hiker confusion was raised. With all the 
trails on a mountain such as Dorr, many hikers would 
confuse the Dorr Mountain Trail with the other trails 
converging at the summit. As with most of the ridge 
routes, the original name referred to the only route up 
the mountain when the trail was constructed. Thus 
such confusion is a contemporary problem requiring 
a contemporary solution. We decided that as a general 
rule, on mountains that had both a north and south 
ridge trail, we would name those trails for their respec- 
tive ridges; this includes Dorr, Cadillac, Champlain, and 

Bear Brook Trail (#10) 

Recommended names: Champlain North Ridge Trail 
and Champlain South Ridge Trail 

In the case of the Bear Brook Trail, we recommend 
renaming it according to the ridge-name principle. 
Currently a destination name, Bear Brook refers to 
an obscure feature which the trail no longer actually 
reaches. This is an irrelevant destination for hikers 



beginning at The Bowl, who are interested in ascend- 
ing Champlain Mountain. Further, the name doesn't 
appear on maps until the 1960s, meaning it is not 
associated with the historic periods of significance. We 
recommend following the model of other ridge trails, 
and naming the route for the mountain name. Because 
of its popularity and the number of summit trails, we 
recommend Bear Brook Trail be renamed Champlain 
North Ridge Trail and Champlain South Ridge Trail. 

Kebo Mountain Path/Trail (#21) 
Recommended name: Kebo Mountain Trail 

We have separated the historic Kebo Mountain Path 
from the Dorr North and South Ridge Trail. However, 
because of its unconstructed character, we recommend 
Kebo Mountain Trail instead of Kebo Mountain Path. 

Penobscot Mountain Trail (#47) 
and Jordan South End Path (#409) 

Recommended names: Penobscot Mountain Trail 
(#47 upper end and #409), Spring Trail (#47 lower end) 

Currently the ridge trail on Penobscot Mountain is 
truncated, and has been melded with the Spring Trail, 
once a discrete, east-west route. The entire trail is 
called the Penobscot Mountain Trail. The ridge trail 
was originally called the Jordan South End Path, and 
with the anticipated reopening of the Jordan South 
End, we have the opportunity to restore the original 
ridge route under one name, and would thus also have 
the opportunity to return the Spring Trail to a discrete 
route with its original name. Further, the character and 
level of craftsmanship on the Spring Trail suggests its 
difference from the ridge trail, and a change of names 
would highlight this. 

ridge route, which will form a T intersection with the 
Spring Trail and continue past the summit to the Deer 
Brook Trail. 


A number of the colored paths, in part or in total, are 
still open, but all have been renamed. The new names 
are all location or destination names. The use of color 
names for trails was discontinued by 1950. 

Jaques's colored path system was the most compre- 
hensive system of naming trails ever employed in the 
park. In many ways, it represents the first realization 
of a coherent network of trails, and the first attempt at 
naming such a network logically. The trails were marked 
with metal tags painted the trail's color, and some tags, 
recent replacements by unknown persons, are extant on 
abandoned paths. In the case of the Orange and Black 
Path, the name is associated with the school colors 
of Princeton University where its builder, Rudolph 
Brunnow, was a professor, and thus arguably tells part 
of a story. 

However, annual reports of the Bar Harbor VIA men- 
tion that the colored system was confusing to hikers 
even from its initial implementation. None of the trail 
names give any indication of their locations or destina- 
tions. Further, once the primary colors were used, trails 
that connected two trails were named for both ends 
(i.e., Red and White), but once the connectors began 
criss-crossing, the system became convoluted. Today, 
with only a portion of the colored path system still 
maintained, much of the design no longer makes sense. 

For the trail that will follow the route of the historic 
Jordan South End Path, we considered the historic 
name Jordan South End. The Jordan South End was in 
fact a feature of Jordan Mountain noted on old maps. 
However, this feature is no longer noted on maps. 
We feel such a name would be confusing and against 
the general principle of ridge names assuming their 
mountain's names. Hence, we suggest the name Penob- 
scot Mountain Trail simply be applied to the entire 

An interesting consideration is that, with the one 
exception of the Orange and Black, the names have 
no relation to their trails, or the history of those trails 
themselves, only to each other. That is, the only reason 
the Black Path was named thus is because it was an 
available color. Recommendations for the Bear Brook 
Trail, formerly part of the Black Path, were discussed 
above under "Ridge Trails and Mountain Feature- 
Named Trails." 


Appendix C: Trail Naming Justification 

We recommend not restoring the historic color names 
to currently maintained trails, for the reasons cited 
above, mainly the confusion that would result from 
taking away a name like Gorham Mountain Trail and 
renaming it Black Path. Further, the reason for the 
attachment of a name like "Black" to such a trail is not 
at all apparent, and could cause hikers to ask, "What's 
so black about this trail?" A significant interpretive 
program would have to be launched to explain these 

portrayal of the trail's history — would be to restore the 
name Orange and Black Path to this part of the origi- 
nal Orange and Black. The original route included the 
Precipice Trail from the East Face intersection down, as 
well as abandoned portions, but restoring the Precipice 
portion to the name Orange and Black Path would be 
far too confusing. 


Red Path (#328) and Green and Black Path (#358) 
Recommended names: Red Path (#328) and 
Green and Black Path (#358) 

However, the desire to keep alive some kind of refer- 
ence to this important part of the trails' history led us to 
consider restoring historic color names to abandoned 
trails that may be reopened, where the colored name 
could work and should be used. This would consist of 
the Red Path and the Green and Black Path. The confu- 
sion to the general public should be less in these cases, 
as there are no modern names for these trails. Further, 
with such a small sample, trail signs could clearly indi- 
cate destinations, and interpretive signs could explain 
the reason for these names, thus allowing us the oppor- 
tunity to interpret that part of the system's history. 

Champlain East Face Trail (#12) 
Recommended name: Orange and Black Path 
(#12 and #348) 

Worthy of special consideration is the Champlain East 
Face Trail. Originally part of the Orange and Black 
Path, this trail is Brunnow's signature trail, which left 
from his house, "The High Seas," and was named for 
his school colors. The trail is one of the most remark- 
able in the system, for its unique craftsmanship which 
is characteristic of Brunnow's work, its precipitous 
route, and its astounding views. Much of the trail was 
on Brunnow's estate. The name should reflect the 
trail's history. Champlain East Face Trail seems too 
utilitarian a name for such a trail and is not histori- 
cal. We discussed the possibility of renaming the trail 
the Brunnow Path, but decided the best homage that 
could be paid this trail builder— and the most accurate 

With the recent reestablishment of the Homans Path, 
all the memorial trails are currently being maintained 
except for two — the Van Santvoord Trail and the 
Gurnee Path. Of those in use, the Emery Path, Schiff 
Path, and Kane Path were renamed with location names 
sometime between 1941 and 1970 (probably in 1959, 
Goodrich), presumably to forestall hiker confusion. The 
Emery and Schiff Path became the Dorr Mountain East 
Face Trail and the Kane Path became the Tarn Trail. 

The historic memorial path names honor individu- 
als who were a part of the island's history. Taken as a 
group, these path names tell a story of how a portion of 
the trail system came about— a story which is particu- 
larly relevant to the philanthropic heritage of Acadia 
National Park. Funding for trail construction was given 
with the understanding that the trail names would con- 
tinue to honor these people. Many extant features, such 
as plaques and stone markers, are directly connected 
to the historic names. Additionally, hikers are already 
familiar with and even use the historic names, which 
have recently turned up on some trail maps. 

However, current location names may be more easily 
understood by trail users, and a change to historic 
memorial names could be confusing. Further, the 
Emery and Schiff Paths are two sections of one con- 
tinuous route to the summit of Dorr, and it may be 
confusing to have a name change partway. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

Dorr Mountain East Face Trail (#15), 

Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16), Tarn Trail (#17) 

Recommended names: Emery Path (#15), SchiffPath (#15), 
Kurt Diederich's Climb (#16), Kane Path (#17) 

Despite the concerns described above, given the 
historic importance of the memorial paths, we rec- 
ommend restoring all maintained memorial paths to 
their historic names. Any confusion can be remedied 
with trail signage. Interpretive signs or literature could 
explain the reasons for these names, though many of 
the plaques are currently serving that function already. 
The restoration of both Emery and Schiff seems essen- 
tial to the integrity of the memorial path system, as each 
was built in a distinct time period and is characteristi- 
cally different in construction. The meeting of Emery 
and Schiff is at an intersection with Kurt Diederich's 
Climb. This intersection will mark three trails after 
the name change (Emery Path, Schiff Path, and Kurt 
Diederich's Climb) instead of the current two (Dorr 
Mountain East Face Trail and Kurt Diederich's Climb). 

informing hikers as to where they're going. Returning 
to the historic names would hardly be confusing, as it 
merely adds the second destination to the currently 
used destination. It should be apparent to hikers that 
a trail named for two destinations traverses between 
them rather than goes around either one. Thus the 
committee recommends changing the Asticou Trail to 
the Asticou and Jordan Pond Path and changing the 
Pond Trail to the Bubble and Jordan Ponds Path. 

The route of the Pond Trail, to be renamed the Bubble 
and Jordan Ponds Path, is a misnomer at this point, 
as the current route of the Pond Trail goes to The 
Featherbed as its eastern destination. Historically the 
route led to Bubble Pond, before part of the route was 
obscured by a carriage road, and the section leading 
north to Bubble Pond was subsequently abandoned. 
Sometime between 1942 and 1970 (probably 1959), the 
western half of Canon Brook Trail was simply melded 
with the eastern part of the Pond Trail, under the name 
of the latter. 


The most important group of paths in the Seal Harbor 
system radiates from the south end of Jordan Pond in 
much the same way Dorr's signature paths radiate from 
Sieur de Monts. With Dorr's paths, the trail names are 
people names, while in the Jordan Pond area of the 
Seal Harbor system, destination or location names are 

Asticou Trail (#49) and Pond Trail (#20) 

Recommended name: Asticou and Jordan Pond Path (#49) 
and Bubble and Jordan Ponds Path (#20) 

Two trails, currently know as the Asticou Trail and the 
Pond Trail, were named for the destinations at either 
end of the trails. These trail names have since been 
shortened for only one destination. The original names 
were Asticou and Jordan Pond Path and Bubble and 
Jordan Ponds Path. The double-destination path names 
are like no others in the system, as are the paths them- 
selves — smooth gravel walks with signature construc- 
tion features. The original names serve the purpose of 

Despite the possible confusion, we recommend return- 
ing to historical double-destination names. The portion 
of the Bubble and Jordan Ponds Path route still extant 
beside the carriage road that leads toward Bubble Pond 
will be restored, and a T intersection reestablished at 
the intersection with historic Canon Brook Trail, which 
will be restored to its name. The rehabilitated section of 
trail will lead towards Bubble Pond, coming to the road 
just south of it. Hikers will follow the carriage road over 
the historic route, and then be able to hike the north- 
ernmost segment of the Bubble and Jordan Ponds Path 
where it separates again from the carriage road at the 
north end of Bubble Pond. 

Jordan Pond Carry Trail (#38) 
Recommended name: Jordan Pond Carry (#38) 

Another trail in the Jordan Pond area is the Jordan 
Pond Carry, which has acquired the title of "trail," 
making the denotation of "carry trail" redundant. We 
recommend restoring the historic name of Jordan Pond 
Carry without "trail." 


Appendix C: Trail Naming Justification 

Jordan Pond Seaside Path (#401) 

Recommended name: Seaside Path (#401) 

Connecting between the village of Seal Harbor and 
Jordan Pond is the Seaside Path, which was originally 
named the Jordan Pond Path, for its northern destina- 
tion. However, maps from 1917 on show "Seaside" in 
parenthesis, demonstrating that the term Seaside had 
already become an alternate name for this trail, no 
doubt due to confusion from the numerous trails in the 
area bearing the name "Jordan Pond." The Seaside Inn 
in Seal Harbor was the trail's southern destination. 

Renaming the Seaside Path as Jordan Pond Path would 
restore its historic name. However, Seaside Path 
was also used in the historical period and may better 
describe the destination of that particular trail, as many 
trails end up at Jordan Pond. We recommend continu- 
ing the use of the name Seaside Path. 

Reasons not to restore double-destination names 
include the name's length and repetition of names. 
Seeing the name Jordan Pond on so many trail signs 
may confuse hikers. Returning the Seaside Path to the 
Jordan Pond Path would be directional suicide. 

Jordan Pond Loop Trail (#39) 

Recommended name: Jordan Pond Path (#39) 

The Jordan Pond Loop Trail appears on some old maps 
simply as the East and West Paths. The word "loop" was 
an ill-conceived addition by the NPS trails crew in the 
1990s to avoid confusion, and should be dropped. The 
1928 path guide refers to "the path along the east side 
of Jordan Pond," and "along the west side," but also to a 
sign which says, "Jordan Pond Trail," meaning that even 
by that time the route was often referred to as a single 
route named for the pond. Further, annual reports refer 
to "Jordan Pond Trail" in 1937. We considered restor- 
ing the historic east/west division of the trails, which 
would indeed reflect the different craftsmanship of each 
trail, but decided the confusion would be tremendous. 
Most hikers in this front-country setting want to hike 
the loop, and already have some trouble finding their 
way around. A name switch would only further confuse 
matters. We recommend the name Jordan Pond Path, 

which reflects the trail's level of craftsmanship with the 
use of "path." 

As discussed above, the Spring Trail, a destination- 
named trail that radiates from the south end of Jordan 
Pond (there is a spring in the area marked on old maps), 
will be returned to its historic name. 


The trails on and leading to Western Mountain, now 
Bernard Mountain, Knights Nubble, and Mansell 
Mountain, are a group that warrants discussion as a 
cluster with its own unifying principles and problems. 
This group of trails is particularly confusing. It's a tight 
cluster, and many small sections of trail have their 
own separate historical names. Hence, what is now 
considered the Bernard South Face Trail was histori- 
cally made up of the South Face Trail, Kaighn Trail, 
and Moss Trail. What is now called the Sluiceway Trail 
was made up of two sections, one by that name and the 
other, from the Gilley Trail intersection up, called the 
Little Notch Trail. The route of the Gilley Trail ends 
partway up Western Mountain in the middle of the 
woods, and other trails ascend from there; the historic 
route included a short loop north of where the trail 
now ends, and ascended a knoll called Lookout Point, 
which must have once been open, probably during, and 
just after, the logging era. On the other end, the Gilley 
Trail ends at the Gilley field, and the Cold Brook Trail 
continues the last 0.4 mile to Great/Long Pond. The 
name Cold Brook Trail is of dubious origin, and may 
in fact have once referred instead to the fishway trail 
constructed up Cold Brook by the CCC. Some of the 
historic names that are still used refer to altered routes. 
Hence the Razorback Trail ends at Mansell Mountain 
Ridge, while it used to extend along it to Great Notch. 

Names like Gilley and Kaighn honor individuals or 
families from the area, Gilley was an early landowner 
while the Kaighn family built a summer cottage on the 
mountain; Moss may refer to a name or to the vegeta- 
tion. It seems to be a characteristic of this trail group 
that short sections of a route are given different names. 



However, the area is confusing as it is, and restoring all 
the historic names would simply add to hiker confu- 

We recommend that any trail name referring to a moun- 
tain name which has changed will be changed appropri- 
ately, according to the general recommendation above. 
Routes should be restored so that they make sense. 
Thus, Mansell Mountain Trail should go all the way 
to the summit. The Razorback will resume its original 
destination, Great Notch. The short connection east of 
the top of the Razorback Trail will be considered part of 
the Razorback Trail for record-keeping. 

Bernard Mountain South Face Trail (#111) 

Recommended name: Bernard Mountain Trail 

To cut down on confusion, we recommend not break- 
ing the Bernard South Face Trail into its components. 
Further, since this route now extends to Great Notch, 
we recommend renaming it Bernard Mountain Trail to 
lessen confusion. We recommend keeping the Sluice- 
way route as is, including the Little Notch Trail. We 
recommend extending the route covered by the name 
Great Notch Trail north to the intersection with the 
Long Pond Trail, as it was historically, and extending 
it farther northwest along what is now the Western 
Mountain Trail, a roadbed for which we could find no 
historic name. While the Gilley Trail will still end some- 
what illogically, by keeping its current western destina- 
tion we preserve at least one example of the tendency 
to switch trail names partway to any destination point. 
Further, it's an intersection of a number of extant trails 
and won't seem as odd. Cold Brook Trail will retain its 


Sand Beach-Great Head Access Trail (#9) 
Recommended name: Satterlee Trail 

This clumsy name was a 1990s stop-gap. The actual 
route of this trail, from the Great Head Parking area 
(not Great Head itself) to the Park Loop Road, turning 

south and paralleling the road to the Sand Beach park- 
ing area (not Sand Beach), is the route of the original 
Ocean Drive Road, and the trail is the roadbed itself. 
We considered recommending the name Old Ocean 
Drive Trail to recognize the trail's heritage, but decided 
that this would be too confusing, as many people would 
think the name referred to Ocean Path, which goes 
along the current Ocean Drive. At the excellent sugges- 
tion of David Goodrich, we recommend the name Sat- 
terlee Trail, as the Satterlees donated some of the land 
of this trail corridor and the Great Head area. 

Sieur de Monts-Tarn Trail (#18) 

Recommended name: Wild Gardens Path (#18) 

The name Sieur de Monts-Tarn Trail was chosen in 
the 1990s when this trail was reopened to identify the 
trail's destinations. However, this route was called the 
Wild Gardens Path by George Dorr in the 1910s and 
the VIA/VISs in the 1915 path guide, then the Tarn Trail 
by the CCC in 1930s reports when extensive work was 
done on the trail, and we recommend returning the trail 
to its historic VIA/VIS period name, in keeping with 
other path names ascribed by Dorr that radiate from 
Sieur de Monts Spring. As mentioned previously in 
the discussion of memorial path names, the Kane Path 
along the western shore of The Tarn was renamed the 
Tarn Trail by the Park Service in about 1959. We recom- 
mend changing the route back to its historic name, the 
Kane Path. 

Canon Brook Trail (#19) 

(No change recommended) 

The oldest references to the trail (Rand, et al. maps) 
and brook spell them both Canon with an accent over 
the "o." Later maps show a tilde over the "n." Some 
maps put the "y" in, spelling it Canyon, as does the 1928 
guidebook. Today, it's spelled Canon with no accent 
or tilde. The tilde may have been some kind of gentle- 
man's joke on the part of Rand, since there is no Span- 
ish heritage at Acadia; more likely, it was an adoption 
of a southwestern spelling. However, as Hank Raup 
has pointed out in a letter to the park, the U.S. Board 
on Geographic Names (BGN) policy is to avoid accent 
marks So the choice is between "Canon" (no tilde) 


Appendix Q Trail Naming Justification 

and the Americanized spelling "Canyon." The inten- 
tion was almost undoubtedly "Canyon" — the other 
word "canon" referring to church decree or a musical 
form. However, the brook for which the trail is named 
has also become "Canon" in USGS records, so restor- 
ing the original name to the trail would mean having 
a Canyon Brook Trail that goes up Canon Brook, and 
would be confusing and against our principle of chang- 
ing trail names as the feature for which they are named 
changes. We recommend retaining the current name, 
Canon Brook Trail, with no tilde. If the USGS can be 
persuaded to change the name of the brook to "Canyon 
Brook," we would gladly follow suit. 

The historic route of the Canon Brook Trail continued 
west past The Featherbed, on what is now called the 
eastern end of the Pond Trail, and formed a T intersec- 
tion with the Bubble and Jordan Ponds Path where the 
two are now simply melded together. Once the aban- 
doned section of the Bubble and Jordan Ponds Path to 
Bubble Pond is reestablished, the historic route of the 
Canon Brook Trail will be restored, and the intersection 
will be as it was historically. 

Pemetic West Cliff Trail (#30), 
Pemetic Mountain Trail (#31) 

Recommended names: Pemetic North Ridge Trail (#31), 
Pemetic South Ridge Trail (#30), Pemetic East Cliff Trail 
(#31), Triad Trail (#31/part of #450) 

The historic route of the Pemetic Trail is the route of 
the current Pemetic Mountain Trail from Bubble Pond, 
over the summit of Pemetic, to the intersection of the 
two trails that descend the southern end of Pemetic 
Mountain. While the historic Pemetic Trail went south 
here along the ridge, following what is now called the 
Pemetic Southwest Trail (a misnomer) to the Pond 
Trail, the current Pemetic Mountain Trail takes the 
more recent route to the southeast (a leg historically 
named East Cliff Trail), continues past the Pond Trail, 
passes over The Triad following a portion of the Van 
Santvoord Trail, then descends to the carriage road 
at the Wildwood Stables Bridge. The 1928 path guide 
and correspondence from David Goodrich refer to the 
southern ridge trail as being at one time called the Old 

Trail. We recommend restoring the integrity of the origi- 
nal Pemetic Trail route, but under the names "Pemetic 
North Ridge" and "Pemetic South Ridge," in keeping 
with the ridge naming principle. While we considered 
naming this leg the Old Trail, we decided that there was 
not enough documentation of its use, found that this 
term was applied to other trails in the 1928 path guide, 
and felt that the name could be misleading. The name 
East Cliff Trail would be restored as Pemetic East Cliff 
Trail to the leg from the intersection with the Pemetic 
South Ridge Trail to the Bubble and Jordan Ponds Path. 
The trail from there south over The Triad and to the 
carriage road will be called the Triad Trail, as it is often 
referred to today. 

Cadillac West Face Trail (#32) 

(No change recommended) 

The old maps show a route similar to the present-day 
route called Steep Trail. However, this is not the pres- 
ent route of the Cadillac West Face Trail, and therefore 
should be left intact — old route, old name, old cairns 
(still extant) together. Cadillac West Face Trail is 
descriptive, and we see no reason to change it. 

Bubbles-Pemetic Trail (#36) 

Recommended name: Pemetic Northwest Trail (#36) 

Bubbles-Pemetic is a recent change (possibly 1950s), is 
clumsy, and doesn't describe the two endpoints accu- 
rately. The trail ends at the Park Loop Road, a long way 
from either Bubble. We recommend changing it to the 
historic name, Pemetic Northwest Trail, which better 
describes the actual location of the trail. 

North Bubble Trail (#41) 

and South Bubble Trail (#43) 

Recommended names: Bubbles Trail (#41 and part of #43) 

and Bubbles Divide Trail (part of #43) 

As it is, the area is confusing, and the South Bubble Trail 
in particular is made up of a number of sections that are 
not linear. Two of them are more or less parallel to each 
other and will be very confusing when we implement 
the policy of signing ends of trails with their names. 
A reversion to the historic division of two trails — one 



trail over The Bubbles and another crossing the first 
trail through the notch — makes much more sense, and 
should be less confusing to hikers. The historic names 
were the Bubble Mountain Trail and Bubble Divide 
Trail. However, since this area is now officially called 
The Bubbles, we feel references to a single Bubble in 
Bubble Mountain and Bubble Divide would be very 
confusing. Therefore, we recommend the Bubbles 
Trail for the route that traverses the summits, and 
Bubbles Divide for the route that travels through the gap 
between North and South Bubble. Raup points out that 
the term "divide" refers to a division of two watersheds, 
but the maps of the historic period consistently refer to 
this area as the Bubble Divide and we feel the name to 
be justified on that basis. Any confusion between North 
and South Bubble can be easily solved with signage. 
Signs at either end of the Bubbles Trail will list the two 
Bubbles in order, with distances, while the sign at the 
intersection with the Bubbles Divide will have an arrow 
pointing to each, with phrases such as "Bubbles Trail 
to North Bubble" and "Bubbles Trail to South Bubble." 
The use of "trail" rather than "path" reflects the lack of 
highly crafted construction on these trails. 

Jordan Cliffs Trail (#48) 

Recommended names: Jordan Cliff's Trail (southern end of 
#48) and Sargent East Cliffs Trail (northern end of #48) 

First, the current name Jordan Cliffs Trail now refers 
to an amalgamation of at least three different historic 
trails. South of Deer Brook, the trail that travels along 
the cliffs and intersects with the Spring Trail follows a 
route of which the southern part was the Jordan Bluffs 
Path, built pre-1900. The northern part was the Jordan 
Cliffs Trail, which was built around 1932 to traverse the 
Jordan Cliffs (a specific feature) and intersect with the 
Bluffs Path. There it turned westward to the summit on 
a route now abandoned, reaching a destination actually 
called Jordan Bluffs. As Goodrich points out:, "In its 
present state, the major feature of this trail is clearly the 
Jordan Cliffs." It is also where the majority of the highly 
crafted work is located. Hence, after much consider- 
ation given to the name Jordan Bluffs Trail, used on 
some maps for this hybrid route (1952, for instance), we 

propose leaving the route under the name Jordan Cliffs 

The name of the leg that is north of the Deer Brook 
Trail and travels north and west to the summit of 
Sargent Mountain was historically called the East Cliffs 
Trail. We recommend reestablishing this name as the 
Sargent East Cliffs Trail, since the current name (Jordan 
Cliffs Trail) is a misnomer for this section and the rec- 
ommended name more historically correct. Also, since 
the trail was constructed at different times than the 
southern route, and in a different style, it should have 
its own name. 

Hadlock Brook Trail (#57) 
(No change recommended) 

The 1903 path map refers to the current route as the 
Hadlock Brook Trail, but maps in the 1910s and the 
1915 and 1928 path guides refer to this same route as the 
Waterfall Trail. The argument to be made for restoring 
this second name is powerful. It originated at the time 
of the trail work on this trail, which includes a little- 
known substantial stone staircase along the waterfall, 
which is now abandoned but scheduled for rehabilita- 
tion. However, during discussion with the committee 
and conference with other resource specialists, the 
worry was raised that the name Waterfall Trail might 
attract a large number of people to an area that is cur- 
rently in a low-use part of the park. Also, some consid- 
ered the name misleading, as the waterfall (for which 
the carriage road bridge is also named) is only present 
after heavy rain. Because the name Hadlock Brook 
Trail is also justified historically, the final decision of 
the committee was to continue using this name. 

Norumbega Mountain Trail (#60) 

Recommended names: Norumbega Mountain Trail 
(southwestern end of #60) and Goat Trail (northeastern 
end of #60) 

Locals already call the steep northern part of the 
Norumbega Mountain Trail by its historic name, the 
Goat Trail, and Northeast Harbor Signs refer to it as 
such. We recommend that the park make this change to 
preserve this historic term for a steep mountain trail. 


Appendix C: Trail Naming Justification 

Flying Mountain Trail (#105) 

Recommended names: Flying Mountain Trail (southern 
end #105) and Valley Cove Trail (northern end #105) 

Currently, the route of the Flying Mountain Trail begins 
at the southern entrance of the Valley Cove Road, 
ascends Flying Mountain, descends to the northwest, 
then continues nearly 2 miles further along the side of 
Valley Cove itself on a section of trail constructed in the 
1930s by the CCC. We recommend separating this route 
into two trails, as it was initially. Flying Mountain Trail 
will refer to the portion traversing Flying Mountain. 
Valley Cove Trail will refer to the portion beginning at 
the head of Valley Cove at the intersection with the spur 
trail to the round turn and continuing on the CCC trail 
to the intersection with the Acadia Mountain Trail and 
the Saint Sauveur Trail where they intersect in the valley 
between the mountains. It makes sense to divide the 
Flying Mountain Trail into two parts and resume using 
the original CCC name for the trail they constructed 
along Valley Cove. Further, the CCC Valley Cove Trail 
is highly significant historically and structurally, exhib- 
iting a unique kind of trail construction. Separating it 
by name will be truer to its physical attributes. Most 
people still refer to this trail as the Valley Cove Trail, and 
the name's attachment to the Flying Mountain Trail is 
purely arbitrary. 

Western Mountain Trail (#120) 

Recommended name: Great Notch Trail 
(lower portion of #120) 

There is no historic trail name for this old roadbed, and 
it should lessen confusion to name it for the route it 
fuses with and its destination. 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 



• The foundation of a wall, bridge abutment, or 
other stone structure is anchored on solid material, 
beneath any organic material. It is set on ledge, solid 
stone, or stable mineral soil. Wherever possible, it is 
set beneath the level of the surrounding ground so 
that the ground holds it in place. 

• All rocks of a wall are laid so that they distribute 
their weight down through the foundation and 
toward solid material. 

• Joints between rocks are broken by any rocks laid 
over them (principle of "one over two") so that the 
structure is one continuous weave of rocks. 

• All building rocks in the wall or other stone struc- 
ture have contact with all abutting building rocks. 

• Rocks are laid with their length into the structure 
("header-style") so that they provide maximum 
strength for their size. 

• Shims and small rocks are not used in the exterior 
of the structure. 

• The interior of the structure is a core of laid rocks, 
not dirt or thrown material; the core uses plenty 
of clean rock that allows drainage through the 

• All gaps are filled with rocks that are locked in 

• Interior rocks cannot escape through exterior 

• Top stones are particularly large and well-set to 
prevent toppling or deterioration, and are sub- 
merged under surface material when possible. 

• Courses that retain surface material have high 


Lessons from Coastal Maine Granite Quarries 

by Lester C. Kenway 

The Maine coast was home to a flourishing granite 
industry throughout the 1800s and well into the first 
half of the twentieth century. High-quality gray gran- 
ite, formed from igneous intrusions of the Acadian 
Orogony during the late Devonian Period, was found 
in numerous locations along the coast. Quarries were 
opened in Rockland, Hurricane Island, Stonington, 
Black Island, Mt. Desert, Sullivan, and other coastal 
villages where quarried blocks of stone could be loaded 
onto schooners and shipped to the growing cities of 
Boston, New York, and Philadelphia to be used in the 
construction of public buildings, sidewalks, and streets. 

These quarries cut slabs of granite, up to 20 feet thick, 
which were then cut into building stone, steps, facade, 
monuments, curbing, and paving stones. The methods 
were clever, and exploited the character of the material. 
Initially, all work was done by hand, later supplemented 
by pneumatic tools. 

The demand for granite products was all but eliminated 
by the move to reinforced concrete architecture after 
World War II. Almost all of the Maine quarries are now 
closed, with a handful of craftsmen keeping the knowl- 
edge of these techniques alive. 

Acadia National Park is one location where these skills 
are still in use. Acadia is engaged in a long-term program 
dedicated to preserve historic stonework throughout its 
trail system. This project seeks to duplicate high-stan- 
dard stone trail work completed by stone masons and 
CCC crews during the first half of the twentieth century. 
The Acadia trails crew, in partnership with Gibran 
Buell, of Sullivan Quarries, has incorporated these tradi- 
tional techniques into its current methods. The objec- 
tive of stone cutting is to produce clean, straight splits in 
the stone in order to provide useful pieces to build with. 
A summary of these methods follows. 


Appendix D: Sound Masonry Practices/Stone Cutting 

1. Read the grain. 

This refers to discovering the three primary directions 
of likely breakage in a piece of granite by assessing 
evidence shown in the shape and surface character of 
the stone. These directions were sometimes referred 
to as "The Lift" (a plane parallel to the surface of the 
earth), "The Drift" (a plane perpendicular to the Lift), 
and "The Hard Way" (a plane at right angles to both the 
Lift and the Drift). Discovering these directions when 
stone is still in place in the earth is quite straightforward. 
Reading grain becomes more challenging when boul- 
ders are tumbled down slopes or relocated by glaciers. 
Evidence of the three directions can be discerned as 

1. Flakes on the surface of a rock often run parallel to 
a splitting plane. 

2. Small ledges may indicate one of the planes. 

3. Long cracks may indicate one of the planes. 

4. The largest flat surface on the boulder is likely to 
be either parallel or perpendicular to one of the 
planes. If a boulder is very rounded, evidence will 
be hard to find. Look especially for two or more 
indicators to confirm the same splitting direction. 
These indicators do not have to point to the same 
exact spot, 
since numer- 
ous potential 
planes exist 
in each of 
the three 

The safest strategy is to cut each stone into halves. 
These halves can then be cut in half again, until stones 
of usable size are produced. 

3. Score the line. 

Once the direction of split has been chosen, it is 
marked on the stone with crayon or chalk. Scoring 
means repeatedly striking along the line with a bevel- 
edged tool. The scoring serves to send shocks through 
the crystalline stone, which weakens the stone along 
the chosen plane. The scoring greatly increases the 
likelihood of a successful split and reduces the amount 
of force that needs to be applied with wedges to part 
the stone. Small stones can be cut without using wedges 
at all. A tool called a "rifting hammer" can be used to 
score big stones. One person holds the rifter in place, 
while a second one strikes it with a second hammer. 
The two workers score a line back and forth many 
times until a distinct groove is worn in the stone. Rift- 
ers are difficult to strike on a vertical surface, so a tool 
called a "tracer" 
can be used by one 
person to score a 
line. The tracer is 
like a wide chisel, 
and can be held 
with one hand 
and struck with a 
hammer. Tracers 
can also be used by 
themselves to cut 
smaller stones. 

2. Plan the split — The 50 percent rule. 

Since granite is a crystalline material, it tends to sepa- 
rate along the path of least resistance. If you should try 
to take a thin slice from one end, the crack will tend 
to run out to the parallel face, as opposed to running 
through to the far side of the rock. This will produce a 

large unattract- 
ive "spalled" 
surface on 
the rock and 
a worthless 
curved flake. 

4. Drill holes for wedges. 

These holes can be drilled by hand with star drills (if 
you work in a wilderness area) or with various gas-, 
electric-, or air-powered drills that are available. The 
holes need to be spaced evenly along the score line and 
drilled in the same plane as has been defined by the 
scoring. Experience with the size and type of stone will 
determine optimum spacing for wedges. Typical spac- 
ing for smaller sets (3/4 to 1 inch) would be four to six 
inches apart, while spacing for larger sets (1-1/4 to 1-3/8 
inch) would be 8 to 12 inches apart. The more sets of 



wedges used in a split, the more pushing power avail- 
able to separate the stone. 

a. Holes should be drilled as deep as the straight part 
of the shim or feather. Shallow holes will result in 
the feathers being bent by the wedge (or plug). 

b. If holes are drilled deeper than the shim, the 
wedge can drive the shims down into the hole and 
straighten out the top of the shim. 

c. Feathers can be used to spoon stone dust out of 
holes and to check the depth of the hole. Do not 
use a wedge to check hole depth, since it will be 
difficult to get it out of a hole if you drop it in. 

5. Place feathers and wedges and split stone. 

a. All wedge sets are placed in the holes oriented so 
they all push in the same plane in order to push the 
halves of stone apart. 

b. All wedges are driven with a hammer until they are 
"loaded." This is indicated by each wedge emitting 
a tone or ringing sound. When all wedges are 
loaded, the stone is allowed to react to the pressure 
for 1 to 3 minutes. 

c. Wedges are driven equally, a little bit at a time. The 
sound of the tone of each wedge, when it is struck, 
can indicate the relative tightness of each 
wedge. If the wedges seem to be going hard, more 
scoring can be done between the wedges. 

d. Eventually, a crack will begin to show along the 
scored line. At this point, drive only one wedge 
so other wedges can be retrieved. You can then 
drive a lone wedge into the crack and retrieve the 
remaining wedge set. The two halves of stone can 
be separated with pry bars. 

Deb Hofford, SCA-BSP crew of '97 pounds 6 
inch wedges to begin splitting a 10-ton slab of 


Appendix E: Sample Trail Inventory 


Homans Path (#349), Inventoried May 2001 

I Trail Section Distance 







Trail log from May 2001. Log goes from road west to top of work, then south 
to intersect with the Emery Path. 


Trail runs 320 degrees from magnetic north. 



Capstone culvert. Cut stone measures 38x52x6". Crosses drainage in road, 
begins trail. 




2 coping stones RHS (right-hand side) 




Uniform 36" width: slab laid; 24" rise; 2nd step is broken; all cut; one step is 
completely hidden; one step is a patio set-behind step 



RHS, 26" long 



RHS, 30" long 




4 on RHS, jumbled 




stone patio 




RHS on top of wall, largest up to 44" long, 16-18" high; is continuous abut- 
ting copers; nice straight line along treadway; natural stone 




Rubble wall RHS up to 42" high, batter 4 to 3. 




32" rise, most rise 6", avg run 15"; up to 40" wide, narrow as 28"; some cut 
marks, slab laid 



small opening LHS, runs under 4th step; coper fallen into hole; gravelled- 
over culvert; rock channel flowing into it on LHS; under steps 




sporadic, intermittent coping stones, LHS 




mostly cut, 34" rise, run 60"; avg 7" rise; 30" wide, one at 28" 



obscure, but must be; plugged; similar to one at 60, w/channel LHS; grav- 
elled-over; under tread, not steps 




16" rise, 4' run; no cut marks showing 



obsure, plugged; similar to last two; channeled LHS at 20 degree angle; grav- 



tread width in here is 28-40"; this is a standard width for this trail. 




Estimated coping wall; need better figures; intermittent LHS and RHS, with 
remarkable portions to follow. 




28-31" wide; 20" rise/ 28" run; no visible cut marks 




2 large copers, 4' and 4'6" long, 2' wide, 16" high, on rubble laid wall 




under nice copers: "nice lookin' wall" 



obvious gravelled-over w/ exposed lintels; 17" wide opening; 25" wide 
across trail (stone missing?): 13" deep evenly across; RHS lintel 10x12x36" 




up to 4' high; rubble 




28" rise/42" run: 28-30" across 



coper on RHS fallen off; strong evidence on this staircase that some cut 
marks were removed with tool — why? 




5'6" rise/ 15' run; longest 39", shortest 28"; steps 4 and 5 are double wide w/ 
adjoining stairs at "Y", 68" wide here 



huge boulder LHS 


Acadia Trails Treatment Plan 

1 Trail Section Distance 





1 160 


Spur after 11 steps becomes obscure; seems to curve w/ earthen mound to 
north, some evidence of old bridge abutment at first drainage crossing. 



steps on spur at "Y": 1 and 4 are cracked: 5 is cut from boulder in treadway: 
610" rise/ 17' run: 24-36"wide; 4 coping RHS 



rock-filled treadway: baseball to football size: probably smoothed with soil 
once: held by coping wall 



made from boulder riddled w/ cut marks 



32" wide: 2" rise 




16" high rubble wall, leads to large coper to follow 




LHS, large cut boulder; trail down to 25" wide gap 




top is boulder cut in place; 12-22" runs, rise 28" total 




large, nicely set coper 




3-10" rise: 34" rise/ 7' run: 20-36" wide: evidence of missing coper 




patio-style flat-laid stones 



cut nub LHS 



first step is 2 rocks, w/ a 33" run: total rise is 21"/ run is 47"; widest 34" 



wall/coper shifted outward on RHS 




8" and 4" rises: 32" wide: 8" maple on RHS 




2 flat-laid rocks 




24' of blowout: area where tree RHS blew over; treadway may have been 
soil, no wall: ledge now slopes off steeply to RHS: pin or build up wall? 




27" rise/ 6' run: 35" wide: cut marks: cobbled foundation visible (missing 



large boulder RHS: why is it here, pinching the tread width? fallen or slipped 
into trail 



at end of blowout; natural step? 




large blocks in coping wall, RHS, appear as if they have shifted, perhaps 
when tree went over and trail blew out 




some massive copers in here 




23" rise/ 6' run: all 2' wide; top step was probably slab that slid back and off; 
cut marks all 




rough rock paving 



uncut stone 




small, each side of steps 




switchback: trail shifts to 220 degrees from mag. north, an 80 degree bend in 




on curving switchback: tallest rise 11", total rise 8'6'7 total run 34'; 36" 
widest, 23" narrowest; small coping each side; at least one is set-behind 




throughout, some cut marks on steps and copers: shims and blocking occa- 
sionally visible, most steps ok, evidence of heavy water flow throughout 




beautiful curved steps are 21'3" rise/ 53' run; 1 block is 72" wide; many cut(?), 
rises and runs vary up to 10" rise; some set-behinds; #2 on shims 




large copers LHS for steps 




switchback to ? degrees mag. north: switchback #2 



small shifting and blowout LHS 


Appendix E: Sample Trail Inventory 

1 Trail Section Distance 





1 363 


nice large copers LHS 




a drainage that isn't a culvert: a hold for water to flow into boulders below 
steps; ample places for water to flow 



10' high cliff, LHS, "control point" 



Trail to 320 degrees from mag. north 




large boulders RHS, somewhat haphazard, leftovers? 




note all the drill marks, LHS, where rocks were cut away for effect 




trail goes through a defile: width is 30" to base of next steps 



rocks have slid into trail from LHS, covering steps, perhaps at 2' grade 
change under boulders 




the "overhang"; stack on RHS 7'6" high, 3 large blocks avg 10' long; dog 
holes top block suggest was set there (on N and E sides); all 3 set? 




Overhang, cont., overhang itself is 35" wide in the direction of trail, hangs 
5'6" over trail from LHS; opening height is 63", tread width: 35" 



begin change in direction to 280 degrees mag. north 




piled coping wall, along steps, up to 24" high, cut marks 




12' rise/ 29'run: widest is 46", narrowest 24", much moss, water runs right 
over them, slab laid, steps in good shape in spite of water 



310 degrees mag. north 



1 flat-laid rock 




boulder RHS is 3'6" high 




35" rise/ 7' run: 35" widest, 24" smallest; #4 is slipped out; no coping wall, 
some cut marks 



change direction to 260 degrees mag. north; switchback #3 






w/ steps, low, collapsed from 523-527 




total rise 12'3": 6-10" rises: 43" widest, 24" narrowest; some set-behind: 
w/ coping to follow 



piled retaining wall LHS, almost like scree 



direction change to 330 degrees mag. north 




flat laid stone(s) 




up to 40" high, RHS, vertical laid wall (?) 




36" rise: 45" widest, some cut marks 




large beautiful block 32" above tread on RHS 




a beautiful fitted wall up to 4' high, worked around massive angled boulder 




Flat laid stones pieced in, large in middle, small on sides; up to 6' wide, one 
rock is 40x56", slightly up-ramped 




Hole along trail LHS is filled w/rubble 



8" rise, big cut block is 40x50" 




second stone is a boulder with a flat place cut in it; it ramps up into its own 
coper on the RHS 




10 and 7" rise. cut. set-behind, 51" widest; drop off on LHS is 18", no wall, 
shims visible 

583 588 SP rip-rapped pattern, drill marks on the "topped out" boulder; tread is 54" 



Acadia Trails treatment plan 

1 Trail Section Distance